A Tale of Cancer Battles and Survival: NHMC’s Tribute to Cancer Survivors (Part 1)
It’s a hard fact that cancer is among the most common diseases out there, and yet a permanent cure remains surprisingly elusive. There are close to 14 million people in the world who get diagnosed with cancer and more than half of that (8 million) are the number of lives taken every year. In the US alone, there were more or less 617,000 cancer deaths reported in 2012. The figures show the dark power cancer has over people, which is why it is considered such a monumental accomplishment to become part of the elite circle of cancer survivors.
According to the World Health Organization, if people do not take action or make an effort to do something about cancer, the number of deaths globally could increase by a staggering 80% in 2030. The people who will be primarily affected would be those in low- and middle- income countries. It is truly a global priority, something that needs immediate response.
The good thing about cancer, however, is that many of the deaths it causes can actually be prevented. The key to lessening the number of lives we lose annually is by arming people with the knowledge they need to avoid developing the depressingly common yet dangerous disease.
June is Cancer Survivors Month
On the first day of June 2014, people from all walks of life got the opportunity to engage in promoting cancer treatment and prevention. This unique celebration will mark the 27th annual National Cancer Survivors Day. Various organizations, private companies, and medical institutions across the country acknowledge and hold celebrations on this day to honor cancer survivors and to show support to people who are still battling cancer. Survivors Day shows families that that there is in fact life after a cancer diagnosis and that it is definitely worth celebrating.
In Phoenix, Arizona, the Children’s Cancer Network celebrated Survivors Day through a game of bowling for the whole family at the AMF Christown Bowling Lanes. In Ann Arbor, Michigan, Emmy award-winning reporter, author, and cancer survivor Lauren Hudson gave a keynote speech at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center for the 20th Annual Cancer Survivors Day.
In Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, the folks at the Coastal Cancer Center and Carolina Cancer Foundation took a different approach. They held their annual celebration at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center and designated a theme, which is “Give Cancer The Boot.” They encouraged survivors, along with relatives and friends, to put on their best Western ensemble. 500 cancer survivors attended the event.
Who is a Cancer Survivor?
According to the National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation, the administrator for the celebration, a cancer survivor is defined as a person that is living with a history of cancer, from the time of diagnosis up until his or her remaining years. There are currently 14 million cancer survivors in the United States.
Here is a list of some of the most notable cancer survivors and the type of cancer they overcame:
Christina Applegate – An American film, television, and stage actress, Christina Applegate became famous after playing playing the role of Kelly Bundy on the Fox sitcom Married… with Children from 1987 to 1997. After doctors located cancerous lumps in one of her breasts in July 2008, she underwent a double mastectomy to prevent the cancer from spreading to other parts of her body. She is currently very involved in promoting breast cancer prevention and has started her own foundation.
Lance Armstrong – An American former professional road racing cyclist and seven-time consecutive winner of the Tour de France, Lance Armstrong was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1996, which had unfortunately spread to his lungs and eventually his brain. Despite being originally given a poor chance of survival, he was able to defeat cancer, and went on to win multiple but Tour de France competitions one after the other.
Sheryl Crow – Grammy-winning singer and songwriter Sheryl Crow was diagnosed with breast cancer at the height of her career, despite having committed herself to a healthy and fit lifestyle. The cancer was discovered during a routine mammogram and treated through a minimally invasive surgery in February 2006. The treatment was followed by six weeks of radiation.
There are also celebrities that are devoted cancer advocates, such as Patrick Dempsey. Known for his role as Dr. Derek “McDreamy” Shepherd in Grey’s Anatomy, Patrick Dempsey is a known cancer advocate. His mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1996. He is currently working with Breakaway from Cancer. “I think the thing that happens when you discover that either you have cancer or someone in your family does is you realize how helpless you do feel.”
Ellen Degeneres is a passionate supporter of the cause. Her mother is a cancer survivor who beat breast cancer at a young age. That strengthened Ellen’s support of cancer research. She even went far to dedicated her show (The Ellen Degeneres Show) every October for the Breast Cancer Awareness month, raising a sizable amount of money while promoting cancer awareness each time.
Jessica Biel is also a strong cancer advocate, she supports of organizations like Stand Up 2 Cancer and works with Cedars-Sinai Women’s Cancer Research Institute. She has joined in on Revlon’s Charity walks and other marathons to help promote cancer and help struggling individuals diagnosed with the disease.
And of course, thanks to the advancement of modern science, people do not have to wait for cancer to consume them before seeking treatment. If you have a high cancer risk and have the financial means for treatment, then you can tread the same path Angelina Jolie has taken. Just last year, the 38-year-old actress underwent a double mastectomy procedure, followed by reconstructive surgery, after discovering that she had an extremely high risk (87 percent) of developing breast cancer.
Here is a list of celebrities dedicated to the cause (from Stand Up 2 Cancer):
Mary J. Blige
Read the continuation of this two-part blog at http://www.newhopemedicalcenter.com/blog/ to learn more about Cancer Survivors Month, its origins, and what you can do to help a loved one strengthen his or her chances of survival.