Colorectal cancer, better known as colon cancer, is an extremely common form of cancer – the third most found worldwide. It is essentially a large growth of cells that are located in the colon that take up space. Risk factors are varied: there’s no link between genetics and the disease, and it mostly occurs in older men who have a diet high in fat and alcohol. Drinking lots of water is linked to a decrease in risk (just another reason to drink a half-gallon a day). IBS and Crohn’s disease are both linked to a higher chance of colon cancer as well. Colon cancer traditionally results in repeatedly worsening constipation, blood in the stool, loss of appetite, and nausea. The diagnosis process is a long, complex one involving camerawork of the highest order. A colonoscopy is almost always required, and part of the deadliness and risk of the disease is that so many at risk refuse to be tested. Much of the disease is caused by lifestyle factors and can be prevented. In the event that someone does have colon cancer, surgery is recommended in the early stages with chemotherapy being recommended for stage 3 and 4 cancers. One of the largest issues with colon cancer is its tendency to be recognized in stage 4 as opposed to being detected earlier. The only way to counteract this is to generate awareness for how the cancer works and how to better the lifestyles of someone who’s at risk. Help do so by buying a blue wristband for colon cancer!
Thyroid cancer is a disease with its’ own unique sets of complications. Over 55,000 people each year are diagnosed with thyroid cancer, a large majority (over 40,000) of them being women. The disease starts in the thyroid but can quickly spread to the lymph nodes and other areas – it begins with a lump in the thyroid commonly known as a nodule. These bumps tend to be benign, but a few end up being cancerous, and must be treated. Most of these cancers are papillary cancers – a kind that only develops on one side of the gland. Due to their proximity, these cancers often spread to the lymph nodes in the neck which complicates things further. Risk factors include family history with thyroid cancer, diets low in iodine (important for all kinds of thyroid health), and exposure to radiation (the thyroid is much more sensitive to radiation than other types of cancer). This sensitivity reflects itself in one unique form of treatment – radioiodine therapy, where large amounts of radioactive iodine is concentrated in the thyroid cells, destroying the gland and the surrounding cancer cells. Surgery is also an effective option, with most treatments involving the destruction of the thyroid for the sake of the cancer. The thyroid cancer community shares a lot in common with the breast cancer community – both in demographic and culture. Both bring messages of hope and solidarity, and both raise money to benefit a cause that reaches far beyond any single person. Show your support with this community through a blue wristband!
Written by Michele Wheat