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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Cancer - Nip it in the bud with early detection!

**This is a sticky post and will remain up top until Sunday 5/18. Please scroll down for new posts!**

cancer button

It has to be one of the ugliest words in the English language, if you ask me. It is no respector of persons and will take them whether they are young or old, short or tall, skinny or plump, male or female.

Almost every woman I know has had someone stolen from them by cancer. I specifically chose the word "stolen" because that's really what it is. Most cancer is treatable, if not curable, if detected early enough. But we don't take the preventative measures because we think it can't happen to us, or we're too young, or we don't have the money, or a million other excuses. I've heard them all and even used them myself.

But no longer. You see, I can't afford not to be screened. I have three children. All under the age of 12. How could I possibly face them and tell them that they just aren't worth the extra money or inconvenience that it might cause me to have a pap smear and mammogram or to have those pesky little moles finally checked out? No one likes those procedures, but as uncomfortable as they are, they win hands down to telling your kids that it is only a matter of time before you are gone from their lives for good.
No more good night stories, no more songs, no more kisses.

All because you either didn't know, or you didn't bother to be checked out. I am pleading with you - don't become a statistic. Help me in this cause - together we can help nip cancer in the bud with early detection.

Here are some interesting facts:

  • *Melanoma takes one person every 62 seconds.

  • *Breast cancer will take the lives of 40, 480 women this year - that's about one every 15 minutes.

  • *Each year, about 15,000 women learn they have cervical cancer.
    (if you'd like to read more go to the American Cancer Society webpage and click on "Learn about Cancer)

Here's the deal. I have some oncologists in Texas that want you to be informed so badly, they are willing to donate some time to the cause.
They are inviting you to a question and answer right here on my blog.

Leave your cancer question and I'll do my very best to have it answered by one of these highly trained oncologists. Obviously, not every question will be able to be answered, but we will get as many as we can. I will accept questions throughout the weekend and comments will close at 9 pm central mountain time on Sunday, May 18th.

I will be posting the answers starting Friday, May 23rd (subscribe via email or RSS so you won't miss any of them!) and, depending on the Drs. schedule and the volume of questions, may continue through on into next week.

Lastly, I encourage you to help me spread the word. Grab a button and put in in your sidebar. Get the word OUT that prevention can save lives. There are some very special blogging ladies that agreed to help me get the word out about this today and I want them to all know how much I appreciate them posting and linking back to this little blog to help promote this cause. Ecclesiastes 4:9 says that “Two are better than one, for they have a good return for their work.” Partner with us, won't you?

Cancer Q&A
Grab the Code HERE:

<a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="Cancer Q&A" src="" border="0"/></a>

To Find a Screening Provider:
~Contact your primary care physician.
~If you do not have a primary care physician or need a referral to a screening provider, contact:
National Cancer Institute at 1-800-4CANCER to find screening facilities in your area (English and Spanish options available).
- American Cancer Society at 1-800-ACS-2345 for information about facilities offering low-cost mammograms in your area.
- If you are in Texas, you can check out the Women’s Health Program, which provides low-income women with family planning exams, related health screenings including breast and cervical cancer screenings, and birth control through Texas Medicaid. For an application and more information, call 1-866-993-9972 or
visit here.


Look on the bright side! Subscribe via RSS.

add to sk*rt


Robin said...

Karen, thanks again for this initiative--hopefully you'll get a great response!

I had a few thoughts/questions:

-- Could the docs identify the different types of screenings available and at what age women should get them?

-- discuss alternative forms of tanning (tanning beds, spray/creme tanners)

-- cancer risk from USING high SPF sunscreens

(as I think of more, I'll pop back in)

Kim from Hiraeth said...

Hi Karen,

I tried to add your code to my sidebar and, well, it didn't work.

I'll write a post about it today and use the image in the post and come back later to see if I'm the only one having problems with the code.

Thanks for doing this. I am worse than most about getting my screenings, so this is screaming at me right now.


Megan@SortaCrunchy said...

What a wonderful idea, Karen! This is awesome.

No questions come to mind right now, but I'm going to put your button up and link to you in my weekly round-up.

Thanks for this!

Kim from Hiraeth said...

Never mind. I fixed it to work on my blog.

Jenny 865-53oh9 said...

Wonderful idea!

I understand that cancers are so varied but could they touch on why 2 women, who both have breast cancer of the same nature, would have 2 completely different treatments? How do doctors decide what treatment works best?

Why suggest a lumpectomy when it seems that "it" comes back anyway?

Anonymous said...

I have had three PAP smear/colposcopies that have come back "mild dysplasia" over the past 9 months. My dr says we just need to keep testing as long as the "mild" doesn't elevate to "moderate". Is there anything else I need to do?

Lora Lynn said...

Great idea. Thanks for this.

How about a very specific break down of what we need to watch for on moles. I've gone in before for a mole I was certain was "bad" and been laughed out the door. How do we know?

Dorothy said...

Thanks for such a valuable post, Karen! The opportunity to get questions answered this way is just such a gift. You bet I've posted and linked!

tjhirst said...

I am fair skinned, blond, blue-eyed. I had several bad sunburns in childhood, teens. Since age 18 I have protected my skin vigilantly. I know I may be high risk for skin cancer. Should I schedule regular screenings of some kind with a dermatologist or just go in when a mole does not appear normal? If I were to have a regular visit, how often should I go and what do I say when I schedule the visit? Is this a normal screening that they do?

Angie said...

I found you through Antique Mommy, and I have just finished treatment for Stage III Breast Cancer. I applaud your efforts to get the word out! While I have a great team of professionals here to draw from, I have gotten mixed messages about nutrition and dietary changes recommended for protection against recurrence. I already eat a fairly healthy diet and exercise regularly, and I've heard everything from "the only thing proven with breast cancer is that alcohol contributes" to "become a vegetarian". I would love to hear what the Texas oncologists would recommend.

Thank you for doing this!

Anonymous said...

What if a mole has smooth boundaries and overall is smaller than a pencil eraser, but part of it is raised like a skin tag?

And are regular skin tags ever problematic?

bren j. said...

Found your blog via Shalee and I'd like to add a question:

I've heard that itchy breasts can be a symptom of breast cancer - is this true? I'm also breastfeeding so is it more likely that any itchiness is caused by milk flow/production?

Thank you for the opportunity, Karen!

Laura@Storytellin' Mama said...

I also had too many sunburns as a child... now when I get in the sun, even with sunscreen my chest often gets very tiny red dots that are itchy. it only comes with sun exposure. I would like to know if this is something to worry about. I would also like to know more about timelines for skin cancer, for instance if you have an odd mole or freckly how long does it take to be dangerous? Thank You!

Anonymous said...

As oncologists, do you also stress the importance of diet in prevention AND treatment to your patients? My father died of cancer, and his oncologists never addressed this. I was furious with them, because if his "doctors" had said he needed to eat better, he probably would have listened.

Andrea said...

I am very fair and have had more than my fair share of sunburns. Many ending up with water blisters (when I was growing up) I hear that many women don't get enough vitamin D, but I am nervous to be in the sun.
Also, are women who have never had children at a higher risk of having ovarian cancer?

Thank you! said...

If one has had one kind of cancer, say thyroid, is that any indication that she is more likely to get another kind of cancer at some point down the road?

Kim said...

Got here via Antique Mommy. My question is this: what is the difference between "regular" breast cancer and IBC? Is IBC harder to diagnose?


Robin said...

I've loved seeing these posts hither and yon today, Karen. Again, because cancer has invaded my family's life over and over, I was thrilled you initiated this Q&A. Looks like you're getting some great feedback--your doctors are going to be pleased to share their knowledge and helpful insights.



Jenny said...

Hi Karen,

I found you through Michelle over at Scribbit and wanted to add my applause for this great idea.

Here's my question:
My primary care physician has told me that some of my moles look "pre-cancerous", she suggested that I get a second opinion from a dermatologist but said that I could get them looked at on my own time. I assumed this means that they are not dangerous right now and decided to wait to see a dermatologist when my schedule opens up in a few months. Am I being too careless or is it okay to wait?

Thanks again for putting this all together!


Keli said...

Thanks for bringing awareness to this terrible disease. I'll be putting the box on my blog for sure.

Daisy said...

Thank you for the post. Is breast cancer becoming more common, or is awareness simply better now? I work with three women who've had it, my mother had it, and another grad school classmate is starting chemo tomorrow.

Flea said...

I don't have any questions right now. There's no history in my family and I'm low risk, but I do the annual exams now. So much fun. :)

I am putting the button on my blog near the top though!

After a cup of coffee said...

What a great idea! I'll go add your button to my sidebar :)

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful service you are providing.

My question:
Last summer I found a large lump(walnut size) in my breast. Went to my doc, had a mammogram and ultrasound. They told me it was a cyst. It has not changed and several of my friends think I should have it checked further. I will return in late summer to my doc for my regular annual exam. Should I push for further testing or just accept that it's a cyst that's there for a while? Thanks!

{Karla} said...

this is a wonderful thing you are doing.

xo ~K

Anonymous said...

My 83 year old, non-smoking grandmother was just diagnosed via a PET scan with lung cancer by her pulmonologist today. I know she has two 'spots' in her upper right lung. Her doctor said it looks like it could have entered into her lymph system. Does my grandmother need an oncologist to take over care or will her pulmonologist treat her? What will her options be? Her doctor told her she could not survive major surgery? I think my grandmother is very strong willed and she wants to do whatever will give her quality life left. What do PET scans show and why doesn't she know for sure what grade the cancer is and whether it has gone into her lymph system for sure? Thank you for your time. Julie

Susie said...

Thank you for your initiative! I am now a big believer in screenings and early detection. I had my first mammogram three months ago, and much to my surprise I required follow-up mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy (which luckily showed the area of concern to be benign.)

My question is: are there any reliable early screening tests for ovarian cancer?

Just D said...

Colon Cancer: lost my mother, her brother, their father, and several paternal cousins/aunts etc. Also on my fathers side we've lost my grandmother to CC and have had 2 aunts with breast cancer. I am 38 and have had one colonoscopy. How often should I have them, what else should I do (other screening, blood work up, signs and symptoms) and when? I feel like my life will end with CC - it's my history and my this a valid viewpoint?

Anonymous said...

Got here via Antique Mommy. Thanks for this great service!

Another colon cancer question: A good friend of mine (two weeks shy of 26) has idiopathic gastroparesis and a family history of colon issues (not specifically cancer, to my knowledge). She recently had a colonoscopy due to some symptoms that had previously been attributed to her gastroparesis meds, and they found and tested polyps. The tests came back alright, but it sounded as though polyps are unusual in a 25 year old. How unusual/high risk is this?

"J" said...

This is really GREAT! Cancer has touched my life in so many different ways!

I was told I had Melanoma 1 1/2 years ago!

I use to lay in a tanning bed...I feel like that is HOW I got melanoma?!?! Are you more at risk to get melanoma in a tanning bed rather than the sun???

What a GREAT way to use yout blog Karen!!!


Annie said...

My dad has just been diagnosed with stage IV Renal Cell Carcinoma (kidney cancer) He has started chemo and is doing ok with it so far, although he is really sick and very tired. I am not able to go with him to the doctors and I am afraid that he is not telling me anything that is actual (just what he wants me to know). The cancer has spread to his spine, his liver and his lymph nodes. I want to know if this is treatable...he is very positive and he says he is going to kick it, but I am so worried about him. I just want some answers. He is the type of person to put a positive spin on everything and so I don't actually know if the doctors are actually this positive or not. My question is this: can you beat stage IV metastasized kidney cancer. Is this possible. Can he go into remission. I know this is a hard question, but I am in such desperate need of some answers. Cancer has so deeply touched my family. Both grandmothers (IBC), my mother (in remission) and now my father.

Annie said...

Oh no, I think I missed the deadline...sorry.

mummymac said...

Karen - I've been having a blogging break - so I've been scrolling down to-day - this is a great idea.

Close to my heart - unfortunately. :-)