Tag Archives: Cancer

Mesothelioma Awareness Day: Get Involved!

“I have made it my life’s mission to spread awareness about mesothelioma and the dangers of asbestos.” Heather Von St. James

 Mesothelioma Awareness Day: Get Involved!  Photo of Heather and her Family

Mesothelioma Awareness Day: Get Involved! Photo of Heather and her Family

 Mesothelioma Awareness Day: Get Involved! Facts & Graphic

Mesothelioma Awareness Day: Get Involved! Facts & Graphic

Do you know what Mesothelioma is? According to the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (Meso Foundation), it is a cancer of the lining of the lungs, chest, abdomen, or heart, and a major risk factor for developing this form of cancer is exposure to asbestos. Every year, about 3000-3500 Americans are diagnosed and about 100,000 could die over the next 40 years. It is the least funded form of cancer and lacks adequate research grants/funds. But there is hope and opportunity for change – We can chip in and help.

Ten years ago the dismal figures, far worse than above, got the attention of people around the nation and led to a grassroots organizing effort that has helped raise over $1 million.  How did this movement start? In 2004, groups of survivors, patients and volunteers gathered around the country to raise awareness and raise funds for mesothelioma research. Today, September 26th, 2014, marks the 10th anniversary of the persistent effort started in 2004, and we want everyone to raise their voices, educate themselves and others about this insidious disease.

“We learn to appreciate what we achieve, no matter how small the achievement, because we do it ourselves. Midge Rylander

Mesothelioma Awareness Day: Get Involved! Is your family at risk?

Mesothelioma Awareness Day: Get Involved! Is your family at risk?

 Mesothelioma Awareness Day: Get Involved! Asbestos did you know

Mesothelioma Awareness Day: Get Involved! Asbestos did you know

Do you know any survivors of Mesothelioma? When Heather Von St. James reached out to me to share her story and information on this 10th Anniversary, I was struck by the fact that a person with mesothelioma becomes sick as a direct result of exposure to asbestos; a product that is NOT banned in the U.S. A person diagnosed with the disease has a life expectancy of just 18 months after diagnosis. Equally disturbing is that symptoms may not appear until 20-35 years after initial exposure to asbestos. Heather Von St. James’ story below is an inspiring and important reason why we must fund research and raise awareness about this disease:

“Eight years ago, I was diagnosed with mesothelioma; a rare and preventable cancer caused only by exposure to asbestos. I had just given birth to my daughter and I was given 15 months to live. After a life saving surgery that included the removal of my left lung, I have made it my life’s mission to spread awareness about mesothelioma and the dangers of asbestos.” Heather Von St. James

In honor of Mesothelioma Awareness Day, we invite you to reach out and help spread the word about mesothelioma. What are some ways you can give a voice to these innocent victims while raising awareness about mesothelioma? See suggested answers below.

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World Cancer Day: Dispelling Misconceptions. Debunking Myths

“I keep dreaming of a future, a future with a long and healthy life, not lived in the shadow of cancer but in the light.” Patrick Swayze

World Cancer Day 2014 Button

World Cancer Day 2014 Button

Today is World Cancer Day and WorldCancerDay.Org wants to not only increase our awareness of this insidious disease, but to also help us dispel misconceptions and myths we might have about it.  At some point in our lives, many of us will either know someone, a family member, a friend/co-worker, battling cancer or know someone who lost their life to cancer. In some cases, we might be the ones battling some form of the disease. Fortunately, there continues to be an enormous push to shine a light, raise funds and educate people about cancer.

Every year, people from all walks of life participate in events that help raise funds for research. In case you are wondering how this special day started: World Cancer Day was founded by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) to support the goals of the World Cancer Declaration, written in 2008. This year, for World Cancer Day, WorldCancerDay.Org has chosen to help us debunk 4 myths about the disease. If you didn’t have to look at the myths on this page, would you be able to name/guess one?

Dispelling Misconceptions & Debunking Myths About Cancer:
Myth 1: We don’t need to talk about cancer: When someone we know announces that they have been diagnosed with cancer, there is a tendency for some to either head for the hills or change the subject. Talking about it won’t make it contagious or quicken the demise of our loved ones, yet some feel uncomfortable broaching the subject. It’s important to have an open conversation about the disease and, if we are caregivers, to discuss the ramifications and impact it might have on income, benefits and additional expenses. In the workplace, it is imperative to offer support and suggest ways to shift responsibilities to others. Ignoring the topic is not the best approach. Conversations about body image and sexual well being are equally important and shouldn’t be swept under the rug.

Myth 2: There are no signs or symptoms of cancer: While there are some forms of cancer, such as ovarian and pancreatic cancers, that are not easily detectable because they don’t show early signs, there are other forms of cancer; skin and breast, throat and others that give warning signs and symptoms.  Some of us might also be genetically predisposed to specific types of cancers because we carry genetic markers in our DNA. If we avail ourselves of all the preventative health resources in our health plans, and get regular check ups, we will benefit from the early detection of any cell abnormalities or growths. Researchers in the field agree that early detection increases our chances of survival.

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Inspiration: The Movember Movement…

“I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in March of 1994. I survived, but since then, over 175,000 American men haven’t. The good news is that this war can be won with a combination of early detection, treatment and a commitment to ongoing research.” Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf

Inspiration: The Movember Movement… Mustaches to go…

Inspiration: The Movember Movement… Prostate Cancer cells…

Behind the Moustache: The Movember Story

The first time I read Bloggers for Movember, a post that Eric Robillard aka Le Clown of A Clown on Fire wrote as an invitation to the blogging community to join forces in raising awareness for prostate cancer and mental health issues, I was stoked. I jumped right in informing Le Clown that I was on-board, liked the Facebook page, and quickly added the banner to my blog. Then I read up on how the Movember movement started and was deeply impressed.

In case you don’t know, one auspicious day in Australia, Adam Garone, co-founder of Movember and a group of male friends “conceived the idea of raising awareness and funds to support men’s health and find a cure for prostate cancer.” In 2004, the first fundraising year, 450 guys raised $54,000 for the cause. By 2011, with social media exposure and increased participation, over 854,000 global participants donated, shared or  grew mustaches and raised $126.3 million USD. Is that magical thinking or what? This time, Le Clown would love us to add our voices and blog, share, grow a mustache, donate and help spread the word. Can you help? Read Le Clown’s 1st Movember post here.

“I appear at times merry and in good heart, talk, too, before others quite reasonably, and it looks as if I felt, too, God knows how well within my skin. Yet the soul maintains its deathly sleep and the heart bleeds from a thousand wounds.” Hugo Wolf

Inspiration: The Movember Movement… Depression. Painting At Eternity’s Gate by Vincent Van Gogh.

The Rules of Movember with Mo Sista Kelli

As I thought about what else to share, I realized that even though prostate cancer has not touched men I’ve met or known in my life, other forms of cancer and mental health issues have. Suicide has. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, suicide is the 7th leading cause of death for males. When a dear friend commits suicide or falls into a deep depression after getting a cancer diagnosis, it is a mental health issue. When an untreated cough or pain in the groin is later diagnosed as stage IV cancer, it leads to a mental health crisis and much suffering. Cancer is an insidious disease so regular checkups and being attentive to health changes is imperative.

Cancer has also touched the lives of some of my female friends and family. Recently, a classmate and dear friend from my high school days, Remi Osholake, passed away from ovarian cancer. Her death was a painful reminder that more funding, research and methods of early detection are needed and that no one, male or female, even the healthiest amongst us, is immune. But we can do something about it. We can raise awareness, donate to the cause, and get the word out as a reminder to our friends, family and the world. Would you like to participate? Read Le Clown’s 2nd Movember post here.  More below!

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