Cancer awareness months are a little unbalancing. For the person who doesn’t have cancer, the idea is to bring awareness about the disease and screenings to prevent the disease. To the person who has cancer, it means more than just awareness, it means building a stronger base for fundraising for better research that leads to finding a cure. And in some cases, prevention.
September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month and National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.
One of our founding organizations, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, published an interesting release detailing a few myths about prostate cancer called Six things men should know about tomatoes, fish oil, vitamin supplements, testosterone, PSA Tests, and more. It’s worth reading, since we’re exposed to a lot of misinformation out there. At SCCA, we’ve published a little commentary about the recent controversy surrounding PSA screening. The takeaway from our experts is, get screened!
What about ovarian cancer prevention?
That’s a more difficult disease to prevent since it’s a disease that is hard to diagnose in the first place. There aren’t any real symptoms that are singular to this disease, until the disease has progressed. But it’s an important disease to learn about because ovarian cancer is the deadliest of the gynecologic cancers, with a five-year survival rate of only 15 to 25 percent for the most common type.
Reading stories about women who’ve had the disease might help shed light on the symptoms that lead them to seeking medical help. You can read ovarian cancer patient stories on our website.
Suzanne Larsen experienced symptoms of weight loss with bloating around the waist.
For Kim Sheldon, her ovarian cancer was found by sheer chance when she had an MRI of her knee!
As a good general cancer prevention rule, eating a good diet and getting adequate daily exercise is good advice. You maintain a healthy weight that way, manage your daily stress better, and in general are just plain healthier. Combine that with moderate alcohol intake and not smoking, oh, and getting your annual screenings of course, you should be in pretty good shape!
And if you have an extra buck or two, consider tossing it to the research folks at SCCA for prostate and ovarian cancer this month.