It's undeniable, cancer will affect you at some point in your lifetime. Whether it's a family member, friend, partner, colleague or even yourself, someone you know will be diagnosed with cancer. However, it doesn't always have to result in the worse case scenario. Things can be done to prevent and detect cancer earlier which leads to significantly higher survival rates.
Cancer has been in my life since I was a teen; here is a little background story as to why I am focusing on World Cancer Day today...
My first real experience with the consequences of cancer was when I was 14. I was sitting on my parents' bed, my friend had rung me, "I need to tell you something..." Our mutual friend's Dad had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. I felt sick. What on earth do you say to them? How do you act around someone whose beloved Dad is dying? This can't be made better. It's that feeling of helplessness, utter sadness and frustration.
The day he passed away we walked around school not knowing what to do with ourselves. No one wants anyone to be in physical pain, no one wants to see their friend in emotional pain. It felt like a lose-lose situation. So unjust. **
By the time I left for University, I knew about the numbers, the statistics, how to prevent. Not to smoke, not to excessively drink. Suncream. Always wear suncream. Check your moles, the colour, size, make sure they weren't changing at all etc.
I came back at Christmas during my first year to the news that my Dad had been diagnosed with cancer. It's the word. Hearing it is the worst possible thing. When you hear it you don't think of recovery rates, you don't think of people getting better. You think of long painful chemo sessions, endless hospital trips. You think of death. I locked myself in the bathroom not wanting to see or speak to anyone. It took me a while to tell my friends, again it was the word - I couldn't bring myself to say it.
But, fast forward 2 years, my Dad, who underwent proton therapy, was given the all clear. Years of worry, of seeing my Mum worried, seeing my family stressed and he was better. Cancer is not always about death after all.
Dad and me
When I started Doodling Lucy I knew that at points throughout the year I would sell a portion of my cards for charity. For 2 years running 50% of my Christmas card profits - sold to friends and family and a few via Etsy, went to Pancreatic Cancer UK.
Christmas cards from 2017 sold in support of Pancreatic Cancer UK
Today Thursday 4th Feb, 20% of all my profits made will be split between Coppa Feel and Jo's Cervical Cancer Charity.
Currently, 1 in 5 young women are avoiding appointments due to fear of the Covid-19 pandemic. If you are worried, please pick up the phone, appointments can still go ahead over the phone and doctors can advise you further from there.
As it states on the NHS website:
Cancer survival rates in England are higher than they have ever been and earlier diagnosis is a key part of improving survival rates further.
There are so many steps to make sure it is detected early. Making sure we do routine checks on our bodies, checking moles, checking for lumps and bumps. Going to Cervical cancer screenings.
Simple things, but worth doing. Don't put it off, be the success story. Coppafeel have a great service where they send you monthly reminders, it's light hearted, it's fun and it's free. Find out more here.
Lighthearted texts from CoppaFeel reminding you to check your chest.
I've listed a few more useful sites if anyone is concerned, worried or having to deal with Cancer at the moment.
Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust
Sending you lots of love Lucy x
** My friend's (incredibly strong) family continue to raise money today for Macmillian Cancer Support, a charity which helped them during their journey. They've turned their tragic situation into a way of helping other families going through the similar experiences.