Did you know that 1.7 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer every year, and 1/3 of people will have cancer in their lifetime (Community Health of Central Washington, 2022)? This is a statement that really hits home for me, especially in the month of February, also known as National Cancer Prevention Month. Cancer is a phrase that I have heard my whole life. A phrase that many individuals not only hear a lot of their life, but may even experience.
As a child I grew up seeing many of my family members diagnosed with cancer. Almost all of the women on my mother’s side of the family including her had breast cancer, luckily they all won their battles. While many of the men battled prostate cancer, in this case some of the men won their battle and some did not, my papa and mother’s cousin passed away from prostate cancer. My cousin Anna, recently got a form of Leukemia in which she has been fighting like a champ for over a year now, what seemed like no big deal turned out to be her worst nightmare. One minute she was in the emergency room seeking aid for a migraine that she just could not shake and the next she was being rushed to a cancer facility and fighting for her life.
Now, my cousin’s story is one that I feel everyone should hear due to the mentality that many individuals have, “Cancer? That could never happen to me.” Well, no one in my family would have ever imagined it could happen to our dear Anna, and it did. Especially Leukemia, a cancer that does not run in our family genetics. Every day we wake up and are thankful that she is still here with us, that all of our loved ones that have fought cancer and won are still here with us. As do millions of people around the world who have loved ones battling cancer.
Although, there may be occurrences where there is nothing that anyone could have done to prevent an individual from getting cancer; there are many forms of cancer that can be prevented and are caused due to things like unhealthy habits, too much sun exposure, excessive smoking, etc. So, next time you see a post on social media promoting cancer prevention, or see a fundraiser for cancer prevention or awareness occurring in your local community, take part and if you can’t simply do what you can do to spread awareness on cancer prevention.
Community Health of Central Washington. (2022) February is national cancer prevention month, https://www.chcw.org/february-is-national-cancer-prevention-month/