Unfortunately, most people have been touched in some way by the dreaded ‘C’ – Cancer. You may be a survivor or you may have had family or friends affected or even taken by this dreadful disease. Young or old, cancer does not discriminate.
For me, Cancer is very personal as I lost my mother, father and brother to various forms of cancer. My mother had breast cancer and died 30 years ago when treatment was still in the more exploratory stage. Mum was a fighter who battled on for 10 years before succumbing at age 63.
Dad unfortunately, retired at 65 years old and six months later had passed away battling bowel cancer. That was 35 years ago and as recent as October, 2015 I lost my brother who was diagnosed with cancer and gone within six weeks of the diagnosis at age 65.
The statistics are sobering
- An estimated 130,470 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in Australia this year, with that number set to rise to 150,000 by 2020.
- 1 in 2 Australian men and 1 in 3 Australian women will be diagnosed with cancer by the age of 85.
- Cancer is a leading cause of death in Australia – more than 44,000 people died from cancer in 2013. Cancer accounted for about 3 in 10 deaths in Australia.
- Around 19,000 more people die each year from cancer than 30 years ago, this is due mainly to population growth and aging.
However, there are some encouraging statistics as well:
The death rate (number of deaths per 100,000 people) has fallen by more than 16%.
66% of people diagnosed with cancer in Australia are still alive five years after a cancer diagnosis.
Let’s Celebrate Cancer Survivor Day
June 5th is Cancer Survivor Day which coincidentally is the day I lost my mother. It is a day to rejoice and appreciate the lives of those who have fought the battle and won or are still fighting the battle and won’t give in.
How often, do we hear of sufferers who have had a positive mindset recovering or at least prolonging their life, to the amazement of the medical fraternity.
I recently met a wonderful survivor Heather Von St James a wife, mother and survivor of Mesothelioma – a form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Heather is a SURVIVOR and an avid campaigner for raising awareness of this terrible disease.
What can you do to try to avoid this horrible disease?
Know your family history
Talk to your parents, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles and try to find out your family medical history. Then discuss with your doctor what tests would be available to you. Educate yourself on what you need to be doing.
Know your body
Early detection is vital. Do you know how to self-check? Click HERE FOR A COPY OF THE CANCER COUNCIL’S EARLY DETECTION FACT SHEET
Regular screening such as mammograms, pap smears, colonoscopy and even genetic testing can help you keep a check on what is happening within your body.
Regular exercise helps to promote good health and not only keeps you physically strong but also mentally strong.
Live a healthy lifestyle
Smoking and alcohol are two major factors in your lifestyle which can increase your risk of cancer.
Living in Australia we have the highest rate of skin cancer because of overexposure to the sun.
Be aware of your environment
Have you been exposed to asbestos? Older homes built before the 1970’s often have asbestos in the insulation, drywall, ceilings and sometimes even fixtures. It’s important to stay aware of your environment since preventing exposure to asbestos is the only way to protect yourself from developing mesothelioma which you can read more about here.”
Keep a positive mindset
The mind is powerful so keeping a positive mindset is such an important part of a holistic healthy lifestyle
So on this Cancer Survivor Day, give thanks for the precious gift of life, the power of positive thinking and the courage of all of those who are fighting the battle. Let’s also not forget the love and support provided by their families and friends to help keep them strong.