Monday, 7 July 2014

Cancer awareness and prevention

Recently a reader of my blog made a request for me to write a post raising awareness of mesothelioma (a rare and deadly cancer typically caused by exposure to asbestos). I wanted to help but it made me think of all the other cancers that had touched my life and how I could use my platform as a blogger to also draw awareness to these serious health issues as well. My father and grandfather have had skin cancer, my husband's father died of renal/liver cancer, my sister's sister-in-law is currently battling cervical cancer, and my husband's uncle is receiving treatment for bowel cancer.

So what can I do as a blogger? I believe my role can be to remind and encourage people to not put their health at the bottom of the 'to do' list. To do what they can to reduce their risk of developing these cancers in the first place, and to ensure they regularly monitor their bodies for changes and check with a medical professional when there is anything that concerns them.

My husband had a spot on his ear that I didn't like the look of but he didn't feel it was necessary to go to the doctors to have it checked out. After many, many months of nagging he had to go to the doctor for something else and I urged him to get the doctor to have a look at this spot. The doctor ended up referring him to a skin specialist who removed the spot because it was 'pre-cancerous'. I myself had to go to the doctor's last week and thought while I was there I would have a pap-smear as well. It was the knowledge of my sister's sister-in-law's cervical cancer that made me do it as I may have put it off otherwise. Obviously I would recommend that people get anything that concerns them checked out but I think it is also a good idea to use doctor's appointments for general check-ups of the whole body. Get spots on your skin checked, ask for a pap-smear, find out how to do a breast examination, enquire about a persistent cough,  and don't feel embarrassed to find out if your bowel movements are normal. Cancer is not something that happens to other people. It can happen to you and you should ask questions if you are concerned about anything.

To help reduce your risk of certain cancers avoid exposure to asbestos and other carcinogenic products, protect your skin from the sun, eat a healthy diet, exercise, stop smoking, limit alcohol intake, and have regular health checks.

Obviously I'm not a doctor but if I've made one person think about their health and the health of those around them then this post will be worthwhile.

In tribute to the lady who prompted this post. Please go to the website for more information on a lesser known but preventable cancer.

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