November Cancer Awareness Month Salutes Several Types of Cancer

by Jane Ashley

November is a busy month when it comes to cancer awareness. We honor those whose lives have been touched by carcinoid, lung, pancreatic and stomach cancer. November is the month that we acknowledge the importance of our caregivers. November is also the NHL (National Hockey League) Fights Cancer month and No Shave November.

Great American Smokeout

November 21st is the World Pancreatic Cancer Day as well as the Great American Smokeout.

Each of us believes that “our” cancer is the most important — yet we learn so much when we learn about how other cancers affect other people. Most likely, most of us would choose to keep the cancer we have and not trade it for another kind of cancer.

Carcinoid Cancer

Carcinoid tumors are slow-growing that may start in several parts of our body. They are a subset of cancers, known as neuroendocrine. They usually begin in the gastrointestinal system (appendix, colon, rectum, small intestine or stomach) or the lungs. Unfortunately, they don’t produce many symptoms — they secrete hormones that may cause diarrhea or facial skin flushing. Sometimes, they are discovered during an X-ray given for a different reason.

Carcinoid Cancer Ribbon

The ribbon for carcinoid cancer is unique. It’s a zebra-striped ribbon because the zebra has become a universal symbol of rare diseases.

Carcinoid tumors are relatively rare, with clinically significant tumors occurring in about 5 people out of every 100,000 people. Learn more from The Carcinoid Cancer Foundation.

Lung Cancer

More than 225,000 people annually are diagnosed with lung cancer in the United States. It is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. and worldwide. Over 140,000 people in the U.S. die each year from lung cancer, but death rates have been steadily decreasing.

Many lung cancer patients believe that they won’t receive encouragement because others will feel that their behavior caused their cancer. But the truth is that most people who smoke don’t get lung cancer, and many people who do develop lung cancer never smoked.

Lung Cancer (1)

According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), most people who have lung cancer either stopped smoking long ago or never smoked at all. We need to stop the stigma about a diagnosis of lung cancer.

Instead we need to focus on the latest research that focuses on early diagnosis and improved treatments.

• The past two years have produced more new treatments for lung cancer than in the past 10 years.
• Updated guidelines for lung cancer screenings for occupational risks, including for first responders and firefighters. 30 percent of all lung cancer is caused by occupational hazards.
• Molecular testing (biomarker) has become commonplace for lung cancer patients since the introduction of effective immunotherapy treatments, like Keytruda.
• A new non-invasive nasal-swab test is being developed as a screening tool for patients at higher risk for developing lung cancer.

Pancreatic Cancer

Over 56,000 people in the U.S. receive the devastating diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. Because the 5-year survival rates are in the single digits, pancreatic cancer has earned the reputation of being the “world’s toughest cancer.” We’ll have a full blog post on pancreatic cancer on November 21st, World Pancreatic Cancer Day.

Pancreatic Cancer Awareness

Stomach Cancer

Stomach cancer occurs in about 27,500 people in the U.S. annually — about 17,250 men and 10, 250 women. It’s diagnosed most often in those over 60. A family history of stomach cancer or the presence of the Helicobacter Pylori bacteria are risk factors. If you have a first degree relative who has had stomach cancer, experts recommend getting tested for this bacteria since it can be treated with antibiotics.
Stomach cancer symptoms include heartburn, pain, discomfort, nausea, vomiting (particularly after eating), bloating and loss of appetite. 

Stomach Cancer

Unfortunately, some of these symptoms don’t occur at an early stage.

Stomach cancer is the 5th most common cancer in the world. To learn more about treatments and ways to cope, visit NoStomachForCancer.org.

National Hockey League (NHL) Fights Cancer

Nhl Fights Cancer

The National Hockey League helps cancer patients in the U.S. and Canada through awareness and fundraising. These funds help support the American Cancer Society and the Canadian Cancer Society. Donations in the past year have helped pay for over 33,000 free nights in lodging for patients and their caregivers and over 64,000 rides to treatment for patients. Their Movember project has helped over 1,300 men with prostate cancer.

No Shave November

No Shave

This innovative “month” encourages participants to forego shaving or other hair removal processes and donate the costs associated with hair removal in November to NoShave.org. The programs supported for 2019 are The Prevent Cancer Foundation, Fight Colorectal Cancer and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Salute to our Caregivers

Caregiving Round The Clock

What would be we do without our caregivers? They take us to our appointments, are our second set of ears at doctors’ offices, keep up with our medications, make sure that we eat and help ensure our comfort at home. They are our caregivers because they love us and want us ease the troubles and discomforts that cancer brings to us.

Most caregivers manage other family duties, a full-time job and caregiving. Caregivers must remember to take care of themselves too — they need rest and stress relief. WhatNext will be publishing a blog post this month especially for caregivers.

Thanksgiving is the perfect end to November

November is a busy month, but it’s a month for reflection, learning and gratefulness as we learn about others and their cancer struggles. It’s also a time of gratitude for what others do for us. Whether we’re newly diagnosed, in active treatment or are a survivor, Thanksgiving is a beautiful day to reflect on how fortunate we are to live in the United States and have access to some of the best cancer care in the world.

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The Great American Smokeout

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Living With Lung Cancer

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