Life is short, treat it with caution and care

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“My hair is straight but I’m not.”

Niki Smithers, Reporter

It starts when cells begin to grow differently. The mutation spreads rapidly throughout the body. It can grow into the tissues of other cells, overpowering them. Cancer is widely considered as one of the most deadly diseases in America and in the world, but many people underestimate the impact it has on their own lives.

Every year, millions of people are diagnosed with over 100 different types of cancer, affecting millions of families. Cancer has had a bigger impact in my life than most 17-year-olds. Five of my family members have died from cancer. From lung cancer to breast cancer, each case has affected me in a different way.

In April of 2010, my grandma lost her fight against breast cancer. I watched as she suffered through chemotherapy and radiation for years. The worst thing about cancer is that after it’s in remission, it can come back at any point in time. We had thought my grandma’s cancer was gone, but a year after it went into remission, the cancer came back worse than it had ever been before.

Even though I miss her everyday, my grandma’s death taught me something. I learned that life is short. No one is going to be around forever; not me, not you, no one. We have to cherish the time we have with the people we love.

This awareness has encouraged me to become an advocate for breast cancer awareness. It’s important for everyone to know how easily and quickly their lives can be affected by things like cancer.

When I was four, I was diagnosed with pre-cancer. Pre-cancer doesn’t always mutate into cancer, but there is always a risk. The pre-cancer was on my neck, under my birthmark. I underwent surgery to have the infected area removed in order to prevent it from turning into full-blown cancer.

The fact of the matter is that cancer affects almost everyone in some way, whether they’re ready for it or not. Cancer is the second greatest leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for every one in four deaths, according to the American Cancer Society. It’s important to know how cancer can impact your life so that you can be prepared to deal with the disease head on.

The key to being successful in the fight against cancer is early detection. If you catch it in stage one two, the cancer is more manageable. Surgery is usually the first step in treatment, followed by chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. Chemotherapy uses medicine to fight the cancer, while radiation therapy high-energy rays to kill the disease. Each case is unique and reacts to the treatments a different way.

It’s unclear to scientists what causes cancer, there are certain things you can do to try to  reduce your chances of developing it. Staying away from tobacco and alcohol, reducing sun exposure, participating in physical activity, and maintaining a healthy diet are all ways to decrease your chances of getting cancer.

Despite years and years of research, no cure has been found for cancer. it continues to kill millions of people across the globe every year. Don’t underestimate the impact it could have on your life because you don’t want it to catch you off guard.