Cancer. The word alone frightens most of us. It’s just six little letters. How can it be so utterly scary to read let alone say, but my god there’s few other words in the English language that can strike such fear into our hearts.
This word came properly into my life last July and sadly now has shaped the rest of my life. And even more heartbreakingly, my three young children’s lives.
Cancer. Just six little letters yet they have managed to turn my life completely on its head and do the unthinkable – take my Mom away. Forever.
Our cancer story did not have a happy ending. Nor will it give us a happy future but very very slowly my fanily and I are trying to come to terms with what cancer has done to us; like it has done to so many already and will do for years to come.
Today is World Lung Cancer Day – bet you had no idea did you? ( follow @kiss_lungcancer and get involved in their /redlipstickselfie day – text KISS76 to 70070 to kiss lung cancer goodbye) . The frightening part of lung cancer is that it is the biggest killer of women in the UK – yet do you know any of the symptoms? I didn’t. I had no clue.
You know all about breast cancer symptoms as the campaigns for breast cancer are glamorous – decorative bras, celebrities grabbing their boobs – but no one wants to talk about lung cancer. It’s a dirty disease and only dirty people who smoke get it. WRONG. If you have lungs you can get lung cancer. Simple as that.
Whilst breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the UK, lung cancer comes in second place. However the survival rate between the two is shocking. Lung cancer is the biggest killer in women in the UK.
If you are diagnosed with lung cancer you have a 33% chance of surviving a year. JUST A YEAR. Even more heartbreakingly is there’s a 9.3% chance you will live for 5 years. This is compared to breast cancer survival rates – 95.8% of women will live for a year after diagnosis and 85.1% will live for 5 years. Please read this again
Lung cancer – 33%
Breast cancer – 95.8%
Lung cancer – 9.3%
Breast cancer – 85.1%
How frighteningly bleak. (Statistics from www.cancerresearchuk.org ) But admit it – you hear lung cancer, you immediately think smoking thus justifying a death. Again, if you have lungs – you can get lung cancer.
We can no longer be scared to talk about this taboo disease. More than 1 in 3 of us will have some form of cancer in our lives. With over 200 cancers we need to be aware, vigilant and TALK ABOUT IT. I know it’s not a topic anyone wants to think, let alone talk about, but I find it cathartic to write and read other stories – many with happier endings. I am going to open my blog to other people with a story to tell. A voice for people affected by this evil word. An outlet to share the roller coaster of emotions. There will be tears. There will be heartbreak. But there will be hope. Hope that one day that cancer will be a distant dream and no family will be robbed of their previous loved ones.