It’s more than just a pink ribbon - Tucson Local Media: Columns

It’s more than just a pink ribbon

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Posted: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 4:00 am

Each year, October seems to bring an abundance of pink on athletes, in commercials and everywhere you look. All this pink is about it being Breast Cancer Awareness month. While I am glad there is a color and a huge showing of support for such an important cause, I wish it was more about the issues of pushing preventative measures to save lives, shedding light on more than just one form of cancer or disease impacting women each and every day, than just about a football player wearing pink socks or a pink towel to show they care about a cause.

The leading cause of death for women is heart disease. While I take nothing away from the Race for the Cure, this, along with other major health issues, are statistics and facts I would like more publicity for.

I once spoke to a doctor who said in most cases a mother is the most important member of the household, but takes the least care of herself in staying so busy taking care of all of those she loves.

At the end of the day, what a mom needs to realize is if you aren’t healthy, you aren’t going to be able to continue taking care of all of those you love.

Preventative care is your best line of defense in staying healthy, happy and thriving.

Catching a lump before it becomes serious is important, not ignoring ongoing symptoms is key, taking advantage of all the programs available, even for those women without health insurance is invaluable.

Over the years, I have had plenty of people ask how my husband and I came to adopt two daughters.

These two girls lost their mother to an aggressive form of stomach cancer. She was officially diagnosed in November, and died by April. That is definitely a short amount of time between diagnosis, and her passing.

The key factor in this case is early detection. Theresa, the girls’ mom, said her side hurt for a long time. She said it enough to where we all said get it checked out.

Theresa, like so many moms out there, had four daughters, a busy work schedule, and no health insurance.

That resulted in Theresa ignoring the side pain until it became unbearable. By then, it was too late.

Later, as I researched stomach cancer, I found that it is one of the most treatable forms of cancer as long as its detected early.

Had Theresa taken the nagging side pain seriously and gone to the doctor, I still believe she would be here today.

Instead, she left two older daughters behind, and two younger daughters to be adopted. I am proud to be a mother to these two girls, but I know now we should have pushed her more to take advantage of social programs that would have allowed her to get checked out, get diagnosed and become a survivor rather than a victim to this awful disease.

In the end, cancer is cancer. Whether its in the breast or in the stomach, ignoring any kind of nagging pain is being irresponsible.

There are stories out there about bizarre symptoms that lead to a doctor’s visit and a cancer diagnosis.

A breast cancer patient in her 20s thinking that the dry weather was causing strange symptoms that turned out to be cancer, a woman in her 30s having breast pain daily for months before finding out it’s cancer, another young woman feeling something that didn’t feel right under her arm finds out she has cancer.

The symptoms vary,  but all of these listed above were symptoms that weren’t ignored and all of the women got treatment, and today, are labeled as survivors.

The personal stories women tell me each and every year are brave stories that can only be told because all of them sought treatment before it was too late.

There is still no cure for cancer, but medical advances have really helped patients becomes survivors. But, that only happens when we give the doctors enough of a chance to take action and save these precious lives.

While I have talked a lot about women, men have the same responsibility to themselves and those they love to heed early signs.

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1 comment:

  • Gini posted at 10:13 am on Wed, Oct 24, 2012.

    Gini Posts: 3

    Great article!


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