I am a survivor and I will inspire others…
“I am not a victim of my life, what I went through pulled a warrior out of me and it is my greatest honour to be her” - Rupi Kaur
Cancer is a global challenge. In 2018, 18 million people world-wide were diagnosed with cancer and 9.6 million people died from it. It is the second leading cause of death globally, and accounts for around 1 in 6. Today, thanks to ongoing research and initiatives such as world cancer day, 2 in 4 people in the UK will now survive their cancer for 10 years of more.
World cancer day is all about creating a future without cancer. Led by the UICC (Union for International Cancer Control), it is one singular initiative under which the entire world can unite together in the fight against the global cancer epidemic. The 2021 campaign “I am and I will” seeks for people to pledge to make a stand. To eliminate negativity and the attitude that nothing can be changed about cancer. It is about empowering people to raise awareness and understanding around cancer, removing stigma and misinformation.
We know that early diagnosis saves lives, and by helping to raise awareness around the types of cancer and how to check for them, people may be more likely to go for a cancer tests / screenings, and push for referrals if they think they may have some of the symptoms.
Around 38% cases of cancer cases in the UK are deemed to have been preventable. The WHO estimate that around one third of cancers are due to the top 5 leading behavioural and dietary risks (alcohol, being overweight, bad diet, lack of exercise, tobacco use) By raising awareness, educating people, and driving action, we can help save lives… The earlier people get checked and diagnosed, the more likely a cancer will be in its early stages thus more treatable.
World Cancer Day seeks a world where loved ones are no longer lost to preventable cancers and everyone has access to life changing diagnosis and treatment. Low and middle income countries lack the data and resources to help drive cancer policy, and they account for approximately 70% of cancer deaths. They need our help.
Being diagnosed with cancer is one of those “before and after” moments… you know the ones… those fucking insane moments that from then on, your life is never the same again. But I’m here to tell you, that having cancer doesn’t always mean your life has to stop. It isn’t an immediate death sentence, or the end of the world, you just need to learn how to adapt.
Being a survivor of anything is sad, because that means you got through something you shouldn’t have had to get through. It’s not easy, it can be downright miserable… but a warrior will take that pain and transform it into an inner strength, which in turn will help you learn how to live life after your trauma.
How can you help?
Spread the message - head over to https://www.worldcancerday.org for materials, links and resources
Raise awareness - know the signs (see THIS post specifically around breast cancer awareness)
Donate - give to local charities, organise a fundraiser, do a sponsored run… the list goes on.
Share your story - if you have been affected by cancer, by sharing your story you could help encourage others to educate themselves and provide support
When cancer is gone, you aren’t free from it. Even after surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy has finished, after your wounds have healed, and your scans are clear, it is never far from your mind. That’s when the real healing starts, and it takes a lifetime… learning how to love our changed bodies and embrace our scars, learning to smile, love, listen, and appreciate more… learning to LIVE. Live our lives EVERY DAY without fear
These photos show my journey... from my first chemotherapy infusion, my first outing in a headscarf with no hair, half way through treatment then celebrating finishing chemo... my lowest point (somewhere around the start of radiotherapy with no hair, no eyelashes and nothing left in the tank) then lastly radiotherapy, and part of my burn.
I’ve never shared some of these pictures before, they were too painful at the time, but now they serve as a reminder… "your now is not your forever."
Just over a year ago I started the fight for my life, and thanks to ongoing research and scientific advances in identifying and treating cancer, I’m still here now. I might be part of the club that no one wants to be a part of, but it’s only when you are forced to come face to face with your own morality, that you truly start to appreciate life.
Until next time… check your boobs