I’m fairly familiar with it, but it can throw a serious wrench in a conversation. If it comes out, I’ll hear it and I wonder “Should I acknowledge this? Should I comment? People might act weird. Maybe I’ll let it pass so that things don’t get personal.”
Cancer. Breast Cancer specifically.
The Strang Cancer Prevention site informs us that:
- Early detection and treatment have lowered breast cancer death rates in North America, Western Europe, and Austrailia. In most developed countries, five-year survival rates now exceed 75 percent.
- Avoiding cancer-causing agents (including tobacco, some industrial products, and other dietary carcinogens) substantially cuts cancer risk.
- Screening for cancer of the breast, colon, prostate, cervix, and skin, among others, substantially reduces deaths from cancer.
- A healthy diet matters: Eating more vegetables and fruits, and fewer high-calorie, fatty foods (including meat) cuts a person’s cancer risk. Foods rich in fat, and animal protein, combined with low physical activity, raise risks for many cancers; in colon cancer, genetic factors influence fewer than five percent of all cases.
- Exercise works: Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle raise cancer risks – a preventable factor.
- Tobacco, diet, and untreated infections accounted for at least 40 percent of all new cases of cancer and deaths in 2000 – all potentially preventable factors.
One of the best bits of news is that there are numerous resources available. The National Breast Cancer Awareness Month site has multiple sites to consult, everything from informative articles about cancer to financial help if you have cancer. If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer or know someone who has, the Cancer 101 site has a great binder/planner prepared to keep important information and resources organized. ( Sections to keep a record of medical history and appointment results, questions to ask your doctor, recommended medical sites and national resources, American Cancer Society’s Breast Cancer Dictionary, and non medical advice from cancer survivors.)