Raising Awareness

Reporter Heidi Peng advocates for more awareness of all cancers


Heidi Peng, Feature Reporter

As someone whose family has had an elaborate history of cancer, April, National Cancer Control Month, holds great significance to me.

My grandma and great aunt are both breast cancer survivors. My mother found a lump in her left breast in 2014; it was benign. My other great aunt died just last year of liver cancer. My uncle died of lymphoma when I was in seventh grade.

Because of them, my eyes have been opened. I have realized the importance of becoming educated, the importance of becoming aware.

As most know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and, sadly, this month greatly overshadows all other cancer awareness months. I do not intend to take away from the importance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month; however, I must say every other month deserves just as much attention as this one. Every October, organizations across the nation commemorate the strength of those who have battled breast cancer with marathons, parades and pride.

But where is the pride in April for National Cancer Control Month? Where are the marathons in May, Cancer Research Month? Where are the parades in November, Lung Cancer Awareness Month? Each month is significant. One should not be allowed to overshadow another. With the exception of December, every month commemorates cancer patients from a multitude of cancer types. Both April and November commemorate nine, while October observes five.

I am not criticizing those who observe Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I am not criticizing those who do not. I am arguing for a greater awareness of all those who have struggled and fought all types of cancer. I advocate for the awareness of all types of cancer, not just the most common ones.

According to the National Cancer Institute, in 2016, an estimated 1,685,210 people were diagnosed with some form of cancer in the United States. Furthermore, an estimated 595,690 patients died from it.

We must be more in tune with the battles of cancer. We must advocate for better treatment and innovative thinking. Our peers at CHS and beyond have also battled this horrific disease, so we must join the fight, if not for personal reasons, then for someone else.

Don’t stop at Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Realize that other cancers are out there affecting others, too. Donate to research centers. Support those around you who are fighting the hard fight.

Every day hundreds of people are diagnosed and a hundred more  lives are taken. Nonetheless, the world of cancer treatment is forever evolving and advancing.

Even if you can’t donate or you don’t know others who are affected around you, I implore you to learn more and educate yourself, to stand up and to stand together.