Baring it All! - Going Bald for Cancer Research UK

What would you give to see me lose all my long hair?

Sunday, October 29, 2006

51 Days - Does gene diagnosis help?

As you can see, I hit the local newspaper on Friday when I was away, and I didn't even realise it! :-) Yesterday, on my return from Norfolk, I popped into the local newsagents to pick up a copy of the Kent and Sussex Courier, but just my luck - they'd run out (apparently because the local primary school had their photo in it!)

So, this morning, instead of rushing straight into work, I took a detour to another shop, and picked up a copy there. I didn't expect to be on the front page, and I wasn't. I didn't expect to be on the second page, and I wasn't. In fact, I half expected not to be in there at all! (did you think I'd say, 'and I wasn't'?) So, when I found the story on page 9, I have to say I had mixed feelings:

  • Yahay! It's in there!
  • Damn, that's a bad picture (how did they managed to blur a picture that was fine???!!!)
  • Hooray! No-one can see my face! Don't need to hide from people's curious looks...
  • Boo - I'll have to find another way to raise the profile...
  • Great!- the reporter got in most of the relevant points (and was a very lovely person, if you're reading and want to do an article nearer the time! :-))
  • Help! Yes, it is real! As is the number of comments in passing, such as "keep your hair on!", or (instead of 'enjoy the weekend') "Enjoy your hair!" and other wittisisms such as "Hair today and gone tomorrow..." You know teachers - such a smart-ass lot :-)

So, all day I looked to see how my fame has affected donations (not at all!!) and page visits (would you believe it? a decrease!) Hmmm, gonna have to do a lot better than this to reach the target! So, what...? What now?

Anyway, now some more ponderings. So many people are now talking to me about their cancer experiences, and I feel an overwhelming sadness for all the people who have had to watch someone they love go through the experience, and for all the people who are themselves diagnosed - all feeling helpless in the face of what appears, at first, to be hopeless. Yet, there is still hope. Ever increasing hope, in fact (and thank goodness for it!) And for the people who experience this illness themselves - I have the greatest respect in the world. We have been raised to believe that it is a terrible, 'killing' disease. Yet, these people are proving the past wrong all the time. Cancer survivors are on the increase. And new ways of thinking, new methods of treatment and new ways of prevention are always appearing and proving beneficial. Hope is getting stronger.

Now, all we got to do is kick the bugger out of the medical dictionary and into the history books!

-Any which way we can...

Gene diagnosis

Another issue that was raised this weekend was about the availability of a test in Denmark to ascertain whether there is a likelihood for breast cancer to develop (whether there is an increased chance of it, a bigger propensity towards it).

If the gene is found, it doesn't mean you will have cancer, only that the risk is higher. Then, other factors might be significant (though, that isn't to say that a person could necessarily do something to prevent it completely, but might be able to make changes in her life to decrease the risk (there are always factors none of us can eliminate, eg life experiences!))

The point is, young teenagers are finding out they have a gene, which increases the chance of cancer occurring. They are then having an operation to remove both breasts, in an attempt to stop it before it begins. Many of these young people have had to watch a close relative suffer the whole illness and treatment, so who can blame them for wanting to remove the parts of the body where it is likely to occur? To try and prevent the illness before it begins...

I know it is a very personal, and understandable, decision to have the operation, but does it actually prevent it, or is it simply an attempt to reduce the fear (which, in itself, can be a positive step...though there are different, less invasive, ways of helping with the fear)?

As someone else pointed out - better knowledge about diet, exercise, drinking, smoking, stress - calming techniques, and sometimes simply learning the ability to say 'no' might be a lot more effective and less stressful way of improving chances. And regardless, these methods could improve quality of life anyhow.

Life itself can't bring you joy,

unless you really will it.

Life just gives you time and space-

it's up to you to fill it!

(a childhood verse by my friend, Zena)


  • At October 30, 2006, Blogger Mother of Invention said…

    Wow! That seems so radical for teenagers to have breasts removed for prevention. Don't think I'd do that.

  • At October 30, 2006, Blogger Annelisa said…

    Yes, but it is radical, but I think they only see that they don't want the cancer, so they don't want the part of body where it might come.
    Wouldn't it be so much better if they knew that, by finding out they had the gene they could be given a kind of vaccination!

  • At October 31, 2006, Blogger Mother of Invention said…

    That would be ideal. They are bringing out one for cancer of the cervix I believe.

  • At November 01, 2006, Blogger Annelisa said…

    Really? Well, that's another step forward! Good.


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