80,000 women in the United States alone are diagnosed with uterine, ovarian and/or cervical cancer each year. Out of those women, 50,000 are diagnosed with uterine cancer and 22,000 are diagnosed with ovarian cancer. An even scarier statistic: about 11,000 women diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year will die because of a late diagnosis, and that doesn’t include those who are diagnosed with uterine or cervical cancer.
September is Gynecological Cancer Awareness Month.
Cancer is a scary thing for anyone. It’s like an unwanted predator lurking about in the dark night, waiting for its chance to pounce and feast. It is a thought that almost everyone has at some point – What if I get cancer?
I grew up in a family where all different types of cancer are common – breast, uterine, thyroid, skin, lung and the list goes on and on. It’s a scary thought, but I am convinced that at some point I will get some form not only because of my genes but because of my past bad habits. I failed for a long time to take care of myself. I used to go tanning five days a week, I ate terribly and I socially smoked. I might as well have been asking for cancer. Yes, there are other aspects to getting cancer, but I was making myself more susceptible to the disease. I guess when you’re younger you’re more worried about having fun and enjoying your time than preparing and starting healthy routines for the future.
As I got older I realized that you only live once, so why would I shorten that time just because I liked the way my skin glowed when I was tan? In March I finally finished up my three shots of human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccination with my primary physician. It took me 23 years to get that vaccination because I was too afraid of needles. I finally said to myself, you know what’s scarier? Getting your cervix shaved down because I contracted HPV, or as I call it “pre-cancer”. I stopped socially smoking because I realized I did it as just something to do. There was no dependency, no benefit, no gain. And I struggle every day to make the healthier food choice. Obviously I would love to eat unhealthy food all day but I try to eat a salad at lunch or a light and healthy breakfast.
Uterine cancer is linked to excess body fat because of the increased levels of insulin, estrogen and inflammation in the body. At 26-years-old, my mother had to have a full hysterectomy because they found pre-cancerous cysts in her ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus. I’m 24 and I worry at least a couple times a week that if I don’t use it, I’ll lose it…to cancer.
Though September is coming to an end, everyone should schedule an OB-GYN appointment to get their assets checked out. Cancer does not discriminate and can come out of nowhere. I go every six months to make sure everything is running properly, and every woman should do the same.
Cancer is not a joke, nor should anyone take the idea of getting cancer lightly. It is “till death do us part” partner you never asked for. Those who survive cancer still live the rest of their lives with the memories of this disease and how it affected everyone they know and love.
Be safe and take responsibility for YOUR life, YOUR body and YOUR FUTURE.