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Cancer: The silent killer

by Hannah Krebs

I am the youngest daughter of strong and courageous parents that both went through the scare of cancer. My mom specifically was diagnosed with multiple myeloma when I was in middle school (2015). Multiple Myeloma is an uncommon form of cancer. There is about a 0.76% chance of getting multiple myeloma (6). Multiple Myeloma is a blood cancer that affects the bone marrow (8). She noticed feeling excessively tired and had mentioned it to her doctor at a physical to which her doctor then took some blood samples leading to her diagnosis. Due to the rarity of the cancer, my mom had the opportunity to go to the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge in Baltimore Maryland to receive treatment. I was young at the time and was unable to visit. When my mom wasn’t home my sisters took care of us and friends and family gathered to help us as well.

Cancer is becoming more and more common.  In 2020, 1.8 million new cancer diagnoses were estimated (1). By 2040, according to the National Cancer Institute, there are expected to be about 29.5 million new cancer diagnoses and about 16.4 million cancer deaths worldwide (1). Cancer does not discriminate and can affect anyone of any age (1). In 2018, recommended medical tests were being reported to be skipped by 40 percent of Americans (4). Due to the increase in cancer diagnosis, The American Cancer Society recommends cancer screenings once a year (10). A routine medical exam is the best time for a doctor to screen a patient for cancer (5). Lymph nodes are checked, blood samples are checked, the skin is checked, and even things like your cervix and prostate are all checked in a routine checkup (5).

The American Cancer Society (ACS) is an organization that helps spread awareness and educates the public with information about all types of different cancers (2). Along with education, the ACS has many teams like the Surveillance & Health Equity Science department that conduct experiments and research on early prevention, treatment, early detection, and many more things (9). The American Cancer Society also raises money for research as well as helping cancer patients feel comfortable in a hospital setting (2). The ACS mission is to “save lives, celebrate life, and lead the fight for a world without cancer” (9).  An American Cancer Society Hope Lodge is a way for cancer patients and their caregivers to stay in one place and feel like they are at home in a safe hospital-like setting while they are able to get treatment (3). There are currently 30 different locations around the United States that the American Cancer Society supports (3).

 There are many things that you can do to stop the increase of these statistics. The first thing is to donate as little as a couple cents to The American Cancer Society to help them find a cure. Donate today at { https://www.cancer.org/involved/donate.html} If you would prefer to not give money directly, something you could do to keep these statistics down is as easy as going to get your annual physical. There have been reported numbers of people skipping physicals. A routine checkup is your first defense against finding cancer early. If volunteering is your passion, the American Cancer Society is always looking for volunteers. You can sign up here { https://volunteercommunity.cancer.org/s/?language=en_US}. The volunteers do everything from supporting the cancer patients, to driving them to treatments, to helping set up and organize the events such as relay for life. Last but certainly not least, Relay for Life works with the American Cancer Society to help and raise money for research. There are multiple events every year around the country. All you have to do is show up to one of these events. A relay For Life Event is held in May at Shenandoah University by the colleges against cancer club each year. Education is a huge step to help us lower the statistics and it starts with you!

References

1.Cancer facts and figures 2020. American Cancer Society.

https://www.cancer.org/research/cancer-facts-statistics/all-cancer-facts-figures/cancer-facts-figures-2020.html

2.Our History. American Cancer Society.

https://www.cancer.org/about-us/who-we-are/our-history.html

3.Hope Lodge. American Cancer Society.

https://www.cancer.org/treatment/support-programs-and-services/patient-lodging/hope-lodge.html?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Unassigned&utm_term=hope%20lodge&utm_id=go_cmp-14225397797_adg-125234589306_ad-538318950169_kwd-659625531_dev-c_ext-_prd-_mca-_sig-Cj0KCQjwiNSLBhCPARIsAKNS4_eejvFRFIvkOYgzBC3X0CsjCkXdUd8XVnc8RlUkXmliM9kJg3yom38aAs9bEALw_wcB&gclid=Cj0KCQjwiNSLBhCPARIsAKNS4_eejvFRFIvkOYgzBC3X0CsjCkXdUd8XVnc8RlUkXmliM9kJg3yom38aAs9bEALw_wcB

4.New Survey Finds Large Number of People Skipping Necessary Medical Care Because of Cost. National Opinion Research Center of The University of Chicago. https://www.norc.org/NewsEventsPublications/PressReleases/Pages/survey-finds-large-number-of-people-skipping-necessary-medical-care-because-cost.aspx

5.Ways an Annual Check up can help you avoid cancer. Advent Health. https://www.adventhealth.com/hospital/adventhealth-tampa/blog/ways-annual-checkup-can-help-you-avoid-cancer

6.Key Statistics about Multiple Myeloma. American Cancer Society. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/multiple-myeloma/about/key-statistics.html

7.More ways than ever to relay. American Cancer Society. https://secure.acsevents.org/site/SPageServer?pagename=relay_learn

8.Understanding Multiple Myeloma. Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. https://themmrf.org/multiple-myeloma/?gclid=CjwKCAjwq9mLBhB2EiwAuYdMtdyWx_7pQ-uvCWU5wG1DCULLk9wRjlLuTvdDKjXLQB9_9m8EWkS5oxoC3VsQAvD_BwE

9. Surveillance & Health Equity Science. American Cancer Society.

https://www.cancer.org/research/surveillance-and-health-equity-science.html

10. Ask an Oncologist: answering patient questions about cancer screenings. Health Partners.

https://www.healthpartners.com/blog/ask-an-oncologist-answering-patient-questions-about-cancer-screenings/

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