‘The C Word’ or ‘The Big C’ – the subject which must not be discussed. Or is this now an out of date phrase? I read a useful article a month ago where the author debated where we might be if, 50 years ago, we were as open about cancer as we are now (there, I said the word). Nowadays you cannot turn a page in a newspaper without seeing a story of sadness, inspiration or medical science progress. Certainly the latter has played a huge part in reducing cancer mortality rates and sending more people into remission.
We now have much better tools to discover and treat cancer. Moreover, because we are increasingly open about cancer, there is more awareness. According to Cancer Research UK, as we all live longer, more than one in two people in the UK will be diagnosed with some form of cancer during their lifetime. Personally I find that a staggering statistic. We definitely need to talk about cancer!
We now live in a more open and some would argue less stoic society where more people are prepared to talk about their serious illnesses. Together with government and other organisations’ health campaigns, backed up by the rise of social media, the ‘C Word’ is not just ‘big’, it’s fantastically huge! Consequently, more people know and understand the disease and more is known about the science of the disease. This is not only creating better diagnostic tools and treatments, but has introduced a raft of preventative measures and messages resulting in increased awareness amongst the general public. Bloggers do their part too 🙂 – particularly with the rare and less common cancers which sadly don’t make the headlines enough.
If you look at the statistics for Neuroendocrine Cancer, there is both an increased incidence (rate of occurrence of new cases) and increased prevalence (living with the disease). The increased incidence is most likely due to better diagnostic tools but some credit must be given to better awareness (medical staff and the public). Increased prevalence is most likely due to a combination of better treatments, mostly good prognostic outcomes and people are generally living longer.
I’d like to focus in on awareness as that is the aim of my blog. I was diagnosed in 2010 but I didn’t really come out of the ‘cancer closet’ until 2014 and this resulted in a number of lifestyle changes plus the creation of this blog. I have plastered what some would call personal and private information all over the internet in the name of awareness. Some people might have raised eyebrows about some things I published. However, I genuinely believe that the only way to draw attention to the issues faced by Neuroendocrine Cancer patients is to tell the story of Neuroendocrine patients in factual, educational and no holds barred ways. I also like to put a positive spin on everything and where appropriate, a smattering of humour. I do this not just because I think of myself as a positive and humorous person but because I think there is still a lot to be positive about and humour is medicine as far as I’m concerned 🙂
Back to ‘The C Word’. If you want to be inspired, if you want to feel positive, if you want to combine these two things with humour, then please watch ‘The C Word’ – the portrayal of the late Lisa Lynch broadcast on BBC last week. This true story was brilliantly put together to display the range of emotions and problems coming out of any cancer diagnosis; shock, anger, acceptance, etc. Moreover, it also covers all the practical issues such as time of work for the patient and the next of kin, holiday insurance, to the effects on close family.
Lisa Lynch took up blogging after being diagnosed with advanced breast cancer. When you read her bio “I’m a cancer bitch but not cancer’s bitch” – you just know you’re dealing with someone positive. There are few TV programmes that I’ve watched in total silence but this was one of them. For me it brought back memories of my own experience of going through diagnosis and treatment. The issues of time off, holiday insurance, effects on family and friends, trying to establish a new normal, all resonated. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t shed a tear (or two).
I guarantee you many women will have checked their breasts for lumps during and after watching that programme and as a result, many will have gone to see a Doctor. Awareness saves lives.
Watch the programme here (click) (UK only sorry). This programme is only available on BBC iPlayer until 28 May 15
You can explore her blog here (click)
thanks for listening.
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