In the past few months two people close to me have been diagnosed with cancer. One of them avoided getting tests done because he was afraid which is understandable. The other was being tested often then one day was told she was no longer ‘high risk’ and they stopped testing her – even though she still had all the factors that made her high risk?!?! What the what?!? Now both of them are in chemo and will be getting surgery as well. I hate that they have to go through that.
So because of these two stories I feel like I need to spread the early detection mantra loud and clear. Early detection can save lives. Yes you’ve heard it before I’m sure. We all usually think that it applies to other people, not us cause we are invincible. Right?! Getting tests done is scary – for some it’s the type of scary that makes your heart beat fast and makes you have to run to the washroom a few too many times ( been there!). But facing your fear head on can actually be empowering. Instead of worring about what might or might not be there, take matters into your own hands and get checked. Then at least you can put your mind at ease when you get good test results and all is clear. And if you get bad news, atleast you know what you are dealing with and you can get ready to fight with all you got!
I caught my breast cancer fairly early, but even I waited a few weeks to go in for my breast ultrasound. I just kept putting it off figuring the lump I felt was probably nothing ( duh? bad Jasmin!) Avoidance and denial are powerful things. But trust me chemo and surgery are WORSE! So do yourself the favour and if there is something you think you SHOULD get tested – do it. Not just for you but for your family and friends too. 90% of cancers are curable if caught in stage one. With all my heart I hope you never have to hear those three words, but if you do, early detection could help you catch it in time.
And while I’m on my soap box ( sorry!) I’ll add one more thing. If you feel that something just isn’t right, and you feel your doctor is not taking your concern seriously get a second opinion! Or push your doctor to send you to a specialist who can dive further into it. You are responsible for getting the best healthcare you can – don’t rely on someone else to make sure you are getting the best care, it’s something you need to do yourself.
If you are concerned about a certain issue, waiting for test results or in treatment, here are few medical must do’s that I have learned from both my mother’s 15 year battle with cancer and now my own:
- Be your own advocate and spokesperson – you know yourself best
- Do your research – there is a ton of information out there waiting for you
- Be proactive – don’t wait for someone else to do it for you
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions – you deserve answers and proper explanations
- Pay attention to details – we are all human and sometimes people make mistakes, so if you feel something is not right – speak up!
Lastly I just discovered this new charity that I wanted to share with you called Fuck Cancer. They focus on spreading the word on early detection . They have a great “Get Educated” page that has cheat sheets on the risks and symptoms for over 20 different cancers. Read them because they are in point form, fast and easy to remember. If anything sets a red flag for you or any of your loved ones bring it to your doctor’s attention. Maybe it’s nothing , and if that’s the case then GREAT! But just incase, it never hurts to ask.
oh and they also have awesome FUCK CANCER tshirts!! I ordered one today and can’t wait to wear it proud!