February is National Cancer Prevention Month, which strikes a strong chord in my heart.
Cancer is, sadly, very common in my family. . . . it’s the genetic curse that just keeps showing up uninvited. Ruining health. Bringing sadness and grief. And stealing loved ones away.
From skin to liver to prostate to breast cancer, it seems like almost everyone in my family develops at least one form of cancer. Just in my immediate family: My mother has had oral and cervical cancers and melanoma. My grandmother has had multiple melanomas removed in the last few years. My grandfather did, as well.
Then, about a year before he died, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. His health had deteriorated too much, by then, and there was nothing that could be done. Time went by, his condition worsened even further, until he was confined to a wheelchair and couldn’t walk. A few weeks before he died, his doctor started mentioning the possibility of mesothelioma as being the cause of his health issues, but we never found out if he actually had it.
My grandparents’ oldest child, my Uncle Jerry, died in his early twenties from stomach cancer. . . . I know that I’m already at a very increased risk for developing cancer just based on genetics alone and believe me, I’ve tried to limit exposure to anything cancer causing. I’ve never smoked. I’ve traded tanning beds for the lovely and pale look – and an occasional spray tan. I’ve cut back on bacon, sausage, and red meat consumption. I’m scheduled to have a suspicious mole checked. And I’ve seriously considered genetic testing, although that bullet hasn’t been bitten, yet. But for now, I’m more than willing to do everything else I can to try to keep the disease at bay, and the more knowledge that we share about the evil “C Word” and the small steps that we can take to prevent it, always helps a little. Hopefully, one day soon, there will be a cure.
The Mesothelioma + Asbestos Awareness Center shared a few tips for preventing cancer during all times of the year, which I am to elaborate on. They aim to raise awareness of the rare but preventable cancer mesothelioma, which is caused by asbestos exposure, a toxic material that many do not know is still legal and widely used.