Even though cancer can be a dreadful word to many we have to admit that when we are transparent with each other it garners conversations that prove to be life-changing for many. And those conversations we cannot shy away from. I began caring more about my health and the health of my family members right after my mother died of stage 4 lymphoma in April of 2013. Her journey with cancer was fast and it gave us zero time to digest what was happening to her and our family. Later we learned that while my mother was dying of cancer my very close cousin Michelle (pictured to the left of my mom) was silently battling breast cancer. I’m happy that my cousin’s story is filled with miracles as she is still in remission (bless up). But these experiences have highlighted some very important lessons for me.
Educating yourself about cancer can save your life.
My biggest lesson learned is that there are so many different types of cancer. Even with what I always thought to be the most common form of cancer I learned it wasn’t so common. I always thought that education and information about breast cancer seemed vast. It is one of the most frequently diagnosed cancers among women in the United States. And it is one of the most widely recognized diseases in the world. Unfortunately, this year breast cancer will claim the lives of more than 41,000 women in the United States. So educating ourselves should be a top priority.
Breast cancer is a complex and very not one-size-fits-all disease. There are very unique characteristics of each tumor including the subtype, size, lymph node status and stage.
For nearly 30 years we’ve rallied around the pink ribbon for races and events to support finding a cure for breast cancer but the focus on “pink” leads people to think of breast cancer as one disease. I know that’s how I thought of it before I learned of the campaign, Not One Type.
The “Not One Type” campaign is brought to you by Living Beyond Breast Cancer and Genentech and encourages women and their loved ones to take a closer look at breast cancer and have more meaningful conversations with their healthcare team.
My hope for us is that we continue to educate ourselves about the different types of cancer and the treatment available. When my mother was going through her treatment my family, at times, felt really helpless because we had no idea of what questions to ask. As we head into the next decade let’s plan to have more education-driven conversations like these to help be more empowered in our (and our loved ones’) health and decision making.
Disclosure: While this post is sponsored by Genentech you beauties know that all thoughts and opinions are my own. To learn more head to www.notonetype.org. Thanks for supporting the brands that make my blog possible!