Help­ing those who are fight­ing can­cer’s grip

The Intelligencer (Belleville) - - OPINION - JESSICA LAWS

It’s hard to imag­ine a per­son not know­ing of some­one or not be­ing di­rectly af­fected by some­one who has can­cer.

For just six letters, the word ‘can­cer’ is loaded with emo­tions and syn­ony­mous with neg­a­tive con­no­ta­tions.

But like most neg­a­tive things can­cer has weaved it­self into all our lives con­nect­ing us in dif­fer­ent ways to­gether whether we are aware of it or not.

April is Daf­fodil Month, a month ded­i­cated to raise funds to sup­port those who are cur­rently liv­ing with can­cer and their fam­i­lies and this year marks the 60th year of Daf­fodil Month in Canada.

But can­cer isn’t just a month-long bat­tle, it re­ally is more preva­lent in our lives now than ever and we need to be cer­tain we are us­ing ap­pro­pri­ate mea­sures to pro­tect our­selves.

How­ever, there is still a stigma associated with get­ting checked for cer­tain taboo is­sues that some­times cause us to blush or cause a lit­tle dis­com­fort.

Men and women both shy away from get­ting cer­tain things checked be­cause it’s not the “cool” thing to do.

Men in par­tic­u­lar some­times think that get­ting checked for colon or prostate can­cer is ‘gay’ be­cause of tests and pro­ce­dures needed to be done that help in di­ag­nos­ing an is­sue.

It’s be­cause of th­ese ma­cho stereo­types that lead men to be their own worst en­e­mies when it comes to their own phys­i­cal health.

The re­al­ity is most peo­ple don’t get tested or screened an­nu­ally for can­cer be­cause of th­ese un­nec­es­sary fears and that is a big prob­lem, es­pe­cially for those in the mil­len­nial de­mo­graphic.

The only thing to truly fear is not get­ting screened or get­ting screened too late.

What peo­ple have to re­al­ize is that get­ting screened for can­cer is more about tak­ing con­trol of your own health then al­low­ing ar­chaic so­ci­etal per­cep­tions in­flu­ence you, es­pe­cially when it comes to men.

Th­ese dam­ag­ing mis­con­cep­tions some­times make it nearly im­pos­si­ble for early de­tec­tion, which is scary when sta­tis­tics show that 30 per cent of all deaths in Canada are re­lated to can­cer. The Cana­dian Can­cer web­site, www. can­cer.ca, states an es­ti­mated “555 Cana­di­ans will be di­ag­nosed with can­cer ev­ery day in 2016.”

An even more tragic num­ber is that they es­ti­mate on av­er­age “216 Cana­di­ans will die from can­cer ev­ery day.”

And while can­cer usu­ally af­fects Cana­di­ans 50 years and older it isn’t just lim­ited to a ma­ture pop­u­la­tion, it can af­fect any­one at any­time.

Based on the Cana­dian Can­cer So­ci­ety’s 2010 es­ti­ma­tions two out of ev­ery five Cana­di­ans are ex­pected to de­velop can­cer dur­ing their life­time.

That’s why cer­tain months are des­ig­nated as fundrais­ing months for the nu­mer­ous kinds of can­cer, lungs, prostate, breast etc.

It’s so that not one gets more at­ten­tion than the other and it al­lows for more con­ver­sa­tion that can hope­fully lead to ear­lier de­tec­tions.

But what some peo­ple com­plain about when it comes to cam­paigns is that they feel the like­li­hood of their do­na­tion will go to­ward pre­pos­ter­ous wages to CEOs and man­agers in­stead of ac­tu­ally go­ing to­ward the ac­tual find­ing of a cure.

While I’m not sure a cure for can­cer will be found in my life­time it is very well a pos­si­bil­ity in fu­ture gen­er­a­tions that can­cer will be the plague of the past.

But in the in­terim, while a search for a cure is on and while many peo­ple are suf­fer­ing and their fam­i­lies are suf­fer­ing, isn’t it part of our obli­ga­tion to make sure they have some help, some dig­nity and se­cu­rity?

The Cana­dian Can­cer So­ci­ety’s web­site isn’t just about ask­ing for do­na­tions, it’s a re­source to find preva­lent in­for­ma­tion about screen­ing, preven­tion and sup­port and that’s why a do­na­tion today goes a long way in join­ing the fight to sup­port those who are al­ready fight­ing for a lot more.

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