Thursday, January 7, 2010

Cancer Awareness

There's this thing going around on Facebook right now, where you're (assuming you're female) supposed to post the color of your bra in your status - just the color, and nothing else. And then you're supposed to have all your female FB friends do the same. It's supposed to get people talking: "What's that all about?" It's supposed to get people talking about breast cancer. The last line of the message going around says, "Check your tatas, ladies, and pass this along to all your women friends."

Breast cancer awareness has become almost hip, with all the pink ribbons, pink awareness bracelets, pink merchandise, and t-shirts and bumper stickers with cute sayings like "Save the Tatas." There are walks and runs and parades devoted to raising breast cancer awareness, and raising money for breast cancer research. There's the whole wear-jeans-to-work day in support of breast cancer awareness (are they still doing that? They were when I was still working, which was, ummm, quite a while ago, actually). Celebrities talk openly about breast cancer, and I think they've helped de-stigmatize breast cancer.

I'm all for this. It's wonderful, it truly is. I have a couple of friends who have lived through breast cancer, and I am so thankful for the money and research and awareness that are all probably why my friends are still alive to tell their stories.

But.

There are other types of cancer. Lots of other types. Like the cancer my family has been living through for the past year.

Did you know that colon/colorectal cancer is the second most deadly cancer? Without doing any scientific research, I have to believe that a contributing factor is that nobody wants to talk about it. There are no cute t-shirts or slogans, no celebrities going on Oprah, no special-colored merchandise, a portion of whose proceeds go to research. No fun little Facebook awareness games. Who wants to talk about their colon? Who wants to even admit if they notice a problem with their nether-regions? Heh, if you're like me, you probably would rather pretend you don't even actually have a colon (or a rectum, for that matter).

There is no good kind of cancer. There is no pretty cancer, or popular cancer. It's all ugly and horrible, and it all has the power to steal lives.

So listen, people: check your butts. Seriously. Or better yet, have your doctor check it. Be aware of your body. Run - don't walk - to your doctor if you notice anything out of the ordinary. If you're 50, get a colonoscopy. Younger if you have a family history of colon or colorectal cancer. It's not fun, it's not pretty, but it is necessary. Take care of your body, and all its parts.

And pass the word, okay?

7 comments:

heather said...

I love the "check your butts". It made me laugh cuz I wasn't expecting it. Great post on cancer awareness! The only one who really does talk about this is Katie Couric. Kudos for her and all she has done to raise colon cancer awareness.

Mumofone said...

I was diagnosed with colon cancer aged 32 (now 38, mother of a 19 month old boy and cancer free). I completely agree with you Lisa - NEVER let embarrassment be the reason you die of cancer - whatever the cancer, whatever your age - early detection in almost every type of cancer is the biggest factor in ensuring your survival. (Wish I could put that on a T-shirt!!)

Leigh Anne said...

you're so very right lisa! my step mom died of ovarian cancer about 5 years ago. i think this horrible disease has had an effect on everyone i know...and it isn't pretty...and i think you're right about awareness...i never thought about it that way...

(i think some of the guys figured out the FB thing and started listing the colors of their boxers/undies for prostate cancer awareness...)

mominsanity said...

I hear that. When Katie Couric was still on the Today Show, didn't she do a lot in promoting colon health and colon cancer? She even had her own colonoscopies broadcast on the show, I think, because her own husband died of colon cancer that could have been caught if he had regular colonoscopies right?

Anyways, I hear you - there isn't a good cancer anywhere.

Cate said...

Amen. Colonoscopy is not fun, but it's a minor minor minor thing compared to cancer.

Katie Couric is the only celeb I've seen really talk about this. And for that alone, I like her.

(ha! the word verification on this? "colon")

lizzy said...

Lisa...I love to read your blog and today I couldn't believe you were posting about this. I participated in the Facebook bra thing and plan to walk in the Avon Breast Cancer walk this summer but you are absolutely right that there are many other types of cancer.

My dad, uncle and paternal grandfather all died of pancreatic cancer. The 5 year survival rate for this type of cancer is less than 5%. Devastating to those diagnosed and those that love them.

So because of your post today, I will encourage all I know to "check their butts", rub their boobs and not take any symptom lightly.

Keep writing Lisa. I look forward each day to a new post from you!

P.S. Even though I don't know you or Michael personally I'm hoping his next PET scan comes back absolutely clean!

lizzy said...

Lisa...I love to read your blog and today I couldn't believe you were posting about this. I participated in the Facebook bra thing and plan to walk in the Avon Breast Cancer walk this summer but you are absolutely right that there are many other types of cancer.

My dad, uncle and paternal grandfather all died of pancreatic cancer. The 5 year survival rate for this type of cancer is less than 5%. Devastating to those diagnosed and those that love them.

So because of your post today, I will encourage all I know to "check their butts", rub their boobs and not take any symptom lightly.

Keep writing Lisa. I look forward each day to a new post from you!

P.S. Even though I don't know you or Michael personally I'm hoping his next PET scan comes back absolutely clean!