Cancer, real stories & treatment

The majority of adults today will know of someone who has either gone through cancer treatment and is now recovered or will sadly have lots close friends and family to cancer. It’s on the top 10 lists as one of the top causes of death and sadly there is still no actual “miracle cure” for this terrible disease.

Cancer unlike many other illnesses and diseases can affect any part of our body, from our skin, to our blood and brain. Early diagnosis can be crucial in terms of recovery and survival.

Sadly I know and have lost a few people I know to cancer too. My Godmother and long time friend of my mothers, whom I called my aunty Colleen; was a healthy well travelled lady, until one day the headaches started. Like many cases, the doctor diagnosed her with migraines, stress, even flu amongst various other things. After all constant headaches and feeling off are the symptoms of many other things, cancer is usually a final diagnosis and often too late. Colleen continued to get worse, vomiting, memory loss, co-ordination problems etc. Then one day she got out of bed and fell to the floor unable to walk or move. One side of her was paralysed, yet still doctors suspected a stroke; and as bad as a stroke is; we all wish it would of been that. It was only when a brain scan was finally performed that the horrific diagnosis was made. She had a late stage brain tumour. The worst part being that it was in a part of her brain that made it inoperable and it was the size of a tennis ball (yes her head was also swollen). Doctors gave her 4 weeks to live. She lasted 10 months. However the majority of that 10 months was spent in pain and memory loss making her forget who her own mother was. She was 49 when she died. We all miss her terribly.

My next relative is my sister. She’s actually a qualified cancer research scientist which makes her story slightly worse. She’s still alive and out of danger, but approximately 2 years ago she noticed a mole near her nose turning into what can only be described as an abscess. It kept bleeding and leaking pus etc. All the worrying signs. Anyway once again a doctor dismissed it as something else and not too worry. Being a cancer scientist she had a feeling that something just wasn’t right and went for a second opinion. The next doctor sent her for a skin biopsy which confirmed a stage 3 Basal Cell Carcinoma. She then had to have this removed from her face. She now has a tiny scar but is out of the woods.

I’ve also had a scare myself. A strange mole appeared on my stomach a few years ago and continued to grow. An examination showed it was a stage zero pre cancerous mole and not the melanoma originally suspected. However after having the freeze treatment to remove it, it has returned so I certainly need to keep my eye on it.

It is vital to get any type of cancer diagnosed early and referral for treatment. Doctors are often reluctant to send patients for tests straight away but if you feel something isn’t right then it’s important to push for a second opinion as you know your own body better than anyone.

Getting the right treatment can help to prolong life. There are many cancer treatment centres throughout the UK. Tumour treatment is referred to as Oncology. Tumours can develop anywhere on the body. It’s important to get a referral to the correct leader in Oncology care that is qualified to treat individual cancers.

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