Facts (Part III): Friends, Family, Health, and Considering Cancer

Michelle:  Part of being a young adult is the freedom for so many recreational activities, healthy and otherwise. I happen to live in Seattle, where summers arrive late but are gloriously sunny, warm, and lush. From July to late September there’s no trace of the dreary skies and constant piss-mist-drizzle (aka mizzle) most people associate with Seattle. Free time is spent with friends: hiking, camping, playing drunken badminton, going out to a free outdoor music festivals, enjoying ourselves and each other.

It's all fun and games until you find precancerous cells on your cervix

If my best friend became constantly drained and sickly after a few weeks of beach volley ball during the day and heavy drinking and dancing at night, would I think for even a moment that she might have cancer? Probably not.

Consider Cancer.

Did you know that despite a patient with textbook symptoms, many doctors don’t even consider cancer in young adults?

Nah, no way a strong, nubile 19-year-old could have lymphoma. Fatigue and night sweats with an occasional fever? Probably nothing. And besides, those tests will cost a pretty penny.

For most physicians cancer is damn near unthinkable for a 22-year-old, so by the time cancer is diagnosed the disease is often at stage 3 or 4… Shit, if only the doctor had bothered to run a few more tests a while back.

So, What Can I Do?

Don’t skimp out on annual physical exams. If colon or cervical cancer runs in your family, don’t be afraid to get your nethers checked by a professional. Encourage your sisters, cousins, and girlfriends to get yearly pap smears. Also, fellas shouldn’t be shy about helping his lady with breast examinations!

Most of all: Justifying spending the money for something that’s “probably nothing”  would definitely be worth it, especially if an early-stage disease is found. If you or a loved one have persisting health problems, urge that a doctor run more tests. You can afford to be careful when it comes to health.

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