The six letter C word!

 Let's talk about the dreaded big C - Cancer!

We've all at some point in our lives known people who've had cancer - some unfortunately we've lost as well - family, relatives, friends and even acquaintances and it never is an easy topic to talk about.

It is by far the scariest type of illness right now because it can strike anyone, anywhere, anytime! And because it attacks the very basic component of the human body - the cells - there's virtually no way to avoid it. You could try and live a healthy lifestyle to avoid it or go all-out Angelina Jolie and remove certain organs to reduce your risk but if you're genetically-predisposed to have it, your risk is ever present. And organ removal, although a possible way to go about it, is costly and is not applicable to all types of cancers such as blood cancers or leukemia.

I've lost a cousin due to Leukemia and now have a nephew who was just recently diagnosed with the ALL type - just a 3 year old boy only a week older than my son. When the news about it silently broke in the family, it came as a shock to me that my initial reaction was - "Maybe, it's a mistake! Get a second opinion!" But when we visited them in the hospital and confirmed the news, I struggled with words to say. 

What do you say to a mother who has been pummeled with the dreadful prospect of  losing a son to cancer? The only advise I could give her was to show a brave face and not cry because his son should be able to get strength from her. (An advise I might not be able to muster for myself had I been (God forbid!) in here place.)

Thanks to the advancements in technology and medicine, there are now more options on the management and treatment of Cancer, however, it is not enough. Cure is not the only critical element because there should also be focus on availability of the right information and access to a strong support system.

There is still so much about Cancer that we have yet to discover and there are various people/organizations who are working on researching more about it. Organizations such as the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society who are working for a good cause to promote awareness and to be able to provide factual and research-driven information for people. 

The mission of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS exists to find cures and ensure access to treatments for blood cancer patients. We are the voice for all blood cancer patients and we work to ensure access to treatments for all blood cancer patients.

As an added trivia, September is BLOOD CANCER AWARENESS MONTH so check out their website to see how you can make a difference today - because not all types of help have to carry a monetary value.  

Cancer management is never easy, not only does it take toll on money and resources but also drains the patients and caregivers emotionally that is why a strong support system is a must to buffer the negative effects. Support systems come in different types but the best and most relatable ones are those that are initiated by those who've had to deal with it themselves as no amount of empathy can ever replace real-life experience. Families like Patience Brewster's who've had to deal with the loss of a son and are now also working for a cause to help avoid more losses by helping further research in the form of a fund raising event  geared towards advancing immunotherapy.

Cancer is never an easy thing but with the availability of the right information, access to a strong support system and advancements in research and medicine, we pray and hope that it'll be more manageable and soon possibly avoidable as well.

Let us all support the initiative in not letting the big letter C reach the letter D but instead jump to letter L! 

9/15/15 @2:30pm nmed 


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