You have met several women through the Women Worth Knowing profiles.  Of those women, five have had some form of cancer that required surgery, and three of them required further intensive treatment.  I think it is safe to say that every woman you have met has been affected by the disease in some way.

I lost a grandmother, sister-in-law and Karen’s mom to lung and breast cancer respectively .  My mother and an aunt beat colo-rectal and breast cancer respectively.  Friends have had varying success against skin, uterine, brain, and breast cancers.

It is an insidious disease and the word alone is terrifying.  The treatments aren’t much better.  No one gets excited over hearing they get to have chemotherapy or radiation.  It’s not like you’re getting a vicodin vacation.

Irene walked the Susan G. Komen 3-Day a couple of years ago.  She came back with stories of survivors and of those left behind.  I’ve done a couple of walks and am always looking around at the crowds wondering, “If this many people have had this disease, why aren’t we further along with a cure?”

I have no idea what to do to help medicine progress.  I am in no way, shape or form a scientist or doctor.  I hated biology, and anatomy grossed me out.  All I know to do is donate to vetted groups.

I do wonder, if we encouraged more girls into science and technology, would we have a better chance of effecting a cure?  Not that cancer doesn’t affect men, too.  After all, my husband lost his sister, my nephew lost his mother, and my father and uncles-in-law have had their personal battles with the disease and how it has affected their own daughters.  According to this report, men are 40% more likely to die from cancer because they don’t like going to the doctor.

What I know for sure is this:  Early detection and vigilant follow-up are the life savers.  Ladies, get your yearlies and get your mammograms, and when it’s time, get your colonoscopy.  An age-recommended colonoscopy is what saved my mother’s life. 

Gentlemen, get thee to a proctologist hence!  Believe me, the girls know it’s uncomfortable and no fun.  We’ve been getting groped, and had strange fingers and cold instruments jammed up in us since puberty.  But if turning your head and coughing means you get to live to see your grandson’s Little League games, isn’t it worth it?

Do all the self exams, and have a physical every year.  If we can’t accomplish a quick cure, at least we can do our best to prevent and early-detect it.