Monday, July 20, 2009

A U-Turn or a Positive Step in Progress

First of all, 40 years ago a significant event happened - the first moon landing. But does anyone else look at this picture by Buzz Aldrin and think 'arch support'?

This story ran a few days ago on the current perspective of Gen Y BRCA positive women regarding breast cancer. I first read it and thought it was a definite sign of how the times are changing - women are getting tested for BRCA (the breast & ovarian cancer gene) at a young age and then prophetically getting mastectomies and oopharectomies (ovary removal). They are open about it. They seem relatively comfortable with it. They are being proactive to reduce their risk of getting cancer.

The more I thought about it, I was struck by the U-turn this is from previous thought processes on cancer - its no longer the big C. People don't stop talking about cancer, their diagnosis, and treatment. People are more open about it. Last week, I was in a local store and a woman walked in and an employee asked her how a family member was doing. She openly said something about how his tumor is responding to chemotherapy.

We can thank people like Betty Ford for raising the awareness about cancer and massive steps in treatment through chemotherapy and radiation, that are leading to long term survival rates. Generations ago, people usually died of infectious diseases before living long enough to get cancer. Then antibiotics came along and life expectancies increased but then cancer rates increased (note my non-medical summary - this is my personal opinion) along with pollutants, etc. But there were fewer treatment options and cancer was usually a death sentence. A cancer diagnosis was hidden. No one talked about it. It was scary.

Now we have generations of people who have grown up knowing long term cancer survivors and people who talk about cancer instead of hiding it. I see this is a lot of progress. You can't treat something that is hidden.

Okay, enough profound thought for early on a Monday morning. I had a good weekend. My back had a bad weekend. Walter and the cat I think had a good weekend but they got to listen to me whine about my back. Today it is off to work and to whine to the doctor's office about getting in for an appointment.

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