February 4th is World Cancer Day, an intense reminder that we still have a long way to go toward finding cures and less destructive treatments for this grouping of illnesses. As this has touched me personally, I want to talk a little bit about the best thing you can do to protect yourself from the disease.
Go. To. Your. Fucking. Doctor.
So many cancers are now relatively treatable with early detection, it is imperative you catch them as quickly as you can. Keep an eye out for odd developments with your body (lumps, discolorations, sudden changes in function) and get them checked out. Do your yearly check-ups. LADIES, go get your pap done at least every three years once you're either sexually active or you're 21 years of age (do them yearly for a while if you ever get an abnormal result). Keep up to date on your vaccines. Don't smoke. Drink responsibly. Don't ignore problems with your health.
You can do everything right and still end up with cancerous growths. Sometimes your body is just out to get you. Taking care of yourself, though, means you're more likely to catch it in its Stage 0 or Stage 1 phases, which are infinitely easier to treat. It still may not be the greatest thing, but its far better than letting it spread and take hold in places that are more difficult to deal with.
Everyone's journey is different, but I want to remind you all that I am totally willing to be open and transparent about my cancer diagnosis and treatment, and will answer any questions I can about the experience. I was incredibly fortunate that mine was caught as early as it was, and despite it ending in a hysterectomy I know I had an easier path than most when it comes to cancer. I will always be grateful for that. I hope that one day we can reach a place where no one else has to make that choice.
Take care of yourselves