Wednesday, March 14, 2007

March Is Colon Cancer Awareness Month

Colon cancer claims a third rank in the list of most common cancers diagnosed in the United States (skin cancer excluded). American cancer society estimate that this year a total of 106,370 people will be diagnosed with new colon cancer with more women (55,970) having a new diagnosis of colon cancer in comparison to men (50,400).

Factor in all of the other types of cancer and the numbers practically quadrouple.

So more than likely during your life time you will either have a personal experience with cancer or know someone that has.

If you have already been there then you know that Cancer can be a very invasive diseaese]but it does not define who you are. It CAN however be a defining chapter in your life. As a friend, family member or loved one of someone diagnosed as cancer, the same rule applies. Articles have been written, statistics compiled and support groups formed but when going through such a traumatic experience – for all parties involved – it can sometimes be a very lonely journey.

I am by no means an expert, but there are a few things that I can offer to others who may be in the situation of supporting someone faced with a life threatening medical condition.

Listen, Learn And Talk!

Keep the lines of communication open. Sometimes all your loved one wants to do is articulate how he or she is feeling. Actively listen and be understanding of the various moods and myriad of emotions your loved one may be experiencing.

Be proactive and educate yourself because education is key to dispelling myths surrounding cancer. It also helps if your loved one want to discuss various treatments and/or options if you have some understanding of what they are dealing with medicallly.

Talk about your frustrations and possible feelings of helplessness. As much as you would like, you are not going to be able to take away the cancer or the pain from it. Just as your loved one is not going to able to take away your feelings of helplessness. But by talking about it, the opportunity is there to support each other as you work through your individual feelings.

Laugh A LOT

It’s hard to feel bad when laughing. It’s hard to feel self-pity when giggling uncontrollably at a funny movie. It’s hard to be depressed when your sides ache from being tickled. Humor is proven to be healing to the mind, body and spirit.

Continue To See Your Loved One As WHOLE and HEALTHY!

This is very important, especially in an intimate, love relationship. Some people begin to define themselves by their disease instead of seeing the person that you are so desperately in love with. They may want to pull away, and “spare” you from seeing them at less than their best. Reassure them that they are the same person that they were before the diagnosis and that everyone has their own issues and challenges. This just happens to be theirs. At the same time, give them the space they need to work through their own issues and negative feelings. In addition, healing starts in the mind. Not reducing yourself or a loved one to simply a disease can go a long way to overall healing.

Say “I LOVE YOU” Often!

Your loved one needs and wants to hear from you. Actions may speak louder than words, and you may take all the right actions, but speaking words brings comfort, reassurance and knowledge of your inner feelings. Words have meaning. And the three most important words in the English language at this time, at this moment, are: "I love you."

Last but not least, be patient with your loved one but also be patient with yourself. Somedays the journey will be harder than others but .... it will always be worth it.

As always, I offer you my best.


  1. Nikki,
    this is great advice about getting check ups and saying "I love you." Those three words are very important and I say them everyday. Thanks for the info and God bless you. By the way, I have a friend named Nikki out there. She is a professor at Chicago State. I call her Chi-town Nikki. :)Enjoy your weekend.

  2. Great great great post... glad you touched on the emotional side of both love ones. BIGGGG HUG to you! I'm hoping this will touch many and those who hadn't been check for colon cancer, do it now because it can strike at any age, it has with me. Keep in mind, not everyone is text book. And one more thing, just be as supportive as you can be along with seeking support for yourself because this is not an easy battle, nor one you can really fight alone and that is something I'm learning the hard way... so seek out all the info. and support that can be beneficial to your and yours.