Cancer Control Month
Perhaps, two of the most difficult words to ever hear are: "incurable cancer." A fellow fitness friend told us of the news he received nearly two years ago.
As an avid runner, cyclist and weight lifter, his shock was quickly replaced with anger as he dealt with, "Why me? I have always taken such great care of myself. I just can't understand how I have cancer." Being a competitive athlete, he did not take the news lying down. He moved past anger to gratitude in the advancements cancer research has made, as he puts it, "enough" progress to give him treatment options. He went all in and underwent a stem cell transplant, with levels of radiation that had to be administered by doctors and nurses in hazmat suits.
While he can't reverse the original diagnosis, he has bought himself a "little more time" to spend with his family and friends. As soon as he was able, he got right back into the gym to regain some of the strength he lost during treatment. He credits being in good physical shape, when the diagnosis arrived, for giving him the strength he needed to fight a tough battle. He would never have guessed he'd need his lifetime of strength to fight cancer, but without it, he may not be here with us today.
He has also chosen to use his time to raise awareness about the advances in cancer treatments. This man generously shares his story with others at cancer events in his area and believes that education and cancer awareness are critical, both on a personal and global level.
Several cancer awareness months are spread throughout the year. Each of those months is designed to bring awareness to specific types of cancer. April marks Cancer Control Month, which focuses on reminding us that more needs to be done to keep cancer at bay.
How Do We "Control" Cancer?
As the above story illustrates, even those of us who take exceptional care of ourselves are susceptible to any type of disease. Living a healthy lifestyle doesn't shield us from disease caused by genetics or environmental exposure. However, living healthy and keeping your body strong pays off by giving us strength to face life's unexpected challenges.
This is why regular exercise and eating healthy is at the top of every prevention list. Other lifestyle decisions to reduce the risk of cancer—such as quitting smoking or chewing tobacco—include, using sun protection and undergoing recommended screenings. See your doctor for regular check-ups, report any unusual symptoms and ask all the necessary questions to get the best treatment possible.
Cancer Survival & Caregiving
Another focus of Cancer Control Month is survivorship. Cancer treatments can increase the risk of other health conditions. Lung, heart, cognitive issues and musculoskeletal problems are among some of the health conditions cancer survivors are faced with after treatment. Cancer survivors still need support for themselves and are usually the first ones to offer support to others. Doctors, nurses and clinicians report that many survivors are often less likely to ask for help "post-cancer" because they don't want to burden their loved ones any longer. Also, survivors often deal with bouts of depression and anxiety, as they fear the return of their illness. As a nation, we can do more to support survivors as they rebuild their lives cancer-free.
Another aspect of any illness, especially a prolonged illness like cancer, is the caregiving that takes place behind the scenes. Cancer is a family disease, in that it brings families closer together as they care for their loved one. Caregiving, however, brings with it many emotions that need to be acknowledged. Caregiving is an important and fundamental role during your loved one's diagnosis, treatment and recovery. This too is an area that, as a nation, we can do more to support the caregivers who often feel overwhelmed and unprepared for their new role.
Don't Go At It Alone
Cancer Control Month serves not only as a reminder for increased awareness, the need for continued research and fundraising opportunities, but it is also a time for celebration. Although we still have so far to go when finding a cure, we are moving forward as a nation and a world, to find new treatment options and possible cures.
Undoubtedly, some type of cancer in some way has affected your life. Show your support by wearing the color or ribbon associated with your cause. Not just during it's designated month, but continue to show your support year-round to keep cancer awareness where it should be; at the forefront of the lifestyle decisions you and those you love make each and every day. A simple online search for "awareness events, ribbons and products" will take you on the path of being an active cancer awareness supporter!
Cervical Cancer Awareness Month
National Cancer Prevention Month
Gallbladder and Bile Duct Cancer Awareness Month
March (Red & Blue)
Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
National Kidney Cancer Awareness Month
April (Lavender, Light Blue & Burgundy/White)
Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Month
Testicular Cancer Awareness Month
Esophageal Cancer Awareness Month
May (Gray & Black)
Brain Cancer Awareness Month
Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month
National Cancer Survivors Day
July (Yellow, Purple/Blue/Peach)
Bladder Cancer Awareness Month
Sarcoma Awareness Week
September (Peach, Light Pink, Orange, Yellow, Burgundy, Teal, Aqua, Pink/Purple)
Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month
Hodgkin's Lymphoma Awareness Month
Leukemia Awareness Month
Lymphoma Awareness Month
Multiple Myeloma Awareness Month
Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month
Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month
Prostate Cancer Awareness Month
October (Pink & Green)
Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Liver Cancer Awareness Month
November (Purple, White, Light Blue, Zebra Print)
Lung Cancer Awareness Month
Carcinoid Cancer Awareness Month
National Family Caregivers Month
Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month
Stomach Cancer Awareness Month