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It all started with the ribbons — pink for breast cancer, teal for ovarian cancer, blue for colon cancer. And then the yellow bracelets hit the scene and many others followed. Now we have so many ways to be inspired and show our support.
As an educator, I participate in many cancer-awareness events and I always come away with an incredible sense of pure joy and hope. It's so incredibly moving to see a group of people getting together to raise money or give support for the cancer cause. The whole idea has helped us move from a time when cancer was a word rarely spoken, to the present, when support and awareness are free and open.
Events help provide a sense of doing something — moving forward with a real connection to others who have the same passion and drive to make a difference. We are all touched by cancer in some way during our lives, which is why it's so important to talk, walk and show support in every way possible.
I'd love to hear from all of you on this topic. Talk about a cancer event that inspired you. How do you give and receive support?
Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.
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I agree that the breast cancer fund raisers overshadow the several other types of cancers that people get. Well meaning people donate to this group forgetting there are other groups that could use their support even more. I recommend donating to the group of your choice that focuses on research, not public relations and marketing. I like the concept of "Colors of Cancer" event that Debbie wrote about. I also think that it would be helpful if more people donated to help people who don't have the insurance or economic means to obtain the cancer treatment they need. It always disheartens me when I see people having a fundraiser in a restaurant because they don't have the means to obtain the treatment they need. Even though my mother died of breast cancer I am a bit tired of the overemphasis on "pink."
I am celebrating my 10th canciversary of living with persistent thyroid cancer by swimming a 10K(6.2 miles)ocean swim next month. I am an average 57 yr old woman. I never swam competitively until I started doing triathlons at the age of 43. Being grateful, living fully and sustaining joy while waiting for the next doctor visit, has been a mental challenge. Without a thyroid, I have additional challenges to fueling my muscles for swimming this distance. Especially difficult is fighting brain fog while trying to stay warm. My goal is to raise $10K for thyroid cancer research. Selfishly, it is because I would love to hear those words, "no evidence of disease" or "in remission" or the best of all, "cured". I know without the research made possible through fundraising for all cancers, it is unlikely to happen in the rest of my lifetime. Therefore, I believe what I am doing is a challenge worthy of the gift of life. A prayer I plan to repeat during the swim; "Dear God, thank you for my life, I want to live." I haven't always felt that way in the last 10 years.
I do believe, any type of cancer research benefits all types of cancer in some way. It has been through the unfortunate mass number of women and men with breast cancer, that researchers have developed new treatments and found the "keys" to other types of cancers, as well. Find a charity that gives 90-100% of your donation to research grants when designated. www.thyca.org is
LAst March we held a "Colors of Cancer Event" to help raise awareness of all types of cancer, not just the pink ones. It was also a fundraiser for the ACS. Everyone picked a ribbon to wear for the evening that represented someone they new with that type of cancer. The room was full of over 200 lapel ribbons, many people even chose to wear 2 or more. We gave awards, held a silent auction and had dancing and delicious hors d'oeuvres. WE are currently planning the second annula Colors of Cancer event for March 2012. We are adding honorary chairpeople and a live auction. As a melanoma "fighter" (I don't believe you survive melanoma, you must fight every day of your life) it was an emotional night. The color ribbons, the awards, and the support of the community was overwhelming. It was a wonderful event and I can't wait for our next one!
Awareness is one thing. But a sizable percentage of the donations are used to stage an event, it becomes frustrating. It means that the walks have become PR events to publicize that an organization is doing something. It allows these groups to claim that they have been successful in their mission. There are too many cancer groups and foundations that are vying for the same donation dollars. According to a major online charity rating site, a good charity spends 70% of what they collect on overhead. The American Cancer Society contribute 10% of its funds to research for all cancers So think about all the organizations out there that are operating that way. That is a staggering amount of money that doesn't go to research.
From my perspective, we don't need more awareness. We need money for more research.
I went for check ups every year and had negative mammograms and still was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer. I don't need a cure. I need something to keep this thing in stasis.
Thank you for this wonderful site! Not only educational but a great way for cancer survivors to support each other. I am so fortunate to be where I am now, both physically and emotionally. I cannot say enough positive things about Longstreet Cancer Center!!
I have been living with carcinoid cancer/syndrome for 27 years. I am now 60 years old. I think the doctors are surprised that I am alive and as healthy as I am. Sometimes I do feel down and can be the crankiest person around. Most of the time I feel grateful and filled with joy. Good cancer care, finding a doctor who understands me, and trying to live a life filled with hope,kindness, purpose, and thanks have helped me. Please, don't sweat the small stuff - it is a waste of time.
I have found largely that the support of others has played a huge role in how positive I am feeling throughout treatment. I have stage 4 hodgkins and am only 21 years old. One thing I have been working on is a blog entitled "Sick Tips" through tumblr. For me, my goal is to create a vehicle for younger cancer patients to communicate with one another! http://sicktips.tumblr.com/
Feel free to take a look and enter any tips, or fun stories you have! It sure has helped me. (Go to the submit stuff section and go crazy!)
I agree with not enough support for all cancers in some of these conversations. This is a shame! Another thing that troubles me...Way too many events for survivors take place in the daytime when people need to work to pay for their medical bills. If some Administrators Really supported us, they would maybe rotate hours of their staff so survivors can attend various cancer classes in the evening.
It's true, thinking about cancer, and creating awareness of cancer is not an easy topic. My goal in this discussion is not to create fear in any way. I think that it is important that we are talking about cancer openly and creating new ways to support cancer research and resources for all cancer types. As an educator/nurse and as a person with family and close friends who have been diagnosed with cancer, I too have my own personal experiences with cancer. I think that our passion and drive to participate in awareness events does make a difference! Let's keep this discussion going...
I applaud what you seek to do.
However, as an educator and author in relation to cancer (see what I do at my website www.anotherlife.com.au) I would ask you to think about what it is you may be doing when you write -- "We are all touched by cancer in some way during our lives".
My observations from 77 years of life tell me this is not a correct statement. It serves only to frighten people - and yes, I know that is supposed to be a good thing, when you are trying to sell something; and yes, you are trying to sell interest in what you do. Yet, also as someone who has just passed the 10 year mark from emergency cancer surgery, I feel this is a very sad thing. Stress increases our chances of cancer - I'm sure you know this.
People with cancer and those who support them need to not feel overwhelmed and that there is no hope for them - because of course they'll be affected.
So please consider - and consider that as a nurse you do not have the 'insider information' which only the firsthand experience of cancer grants. Cancer is such a learning experience it cannot be learned by seeing - only by having.
I was diagnosed one year ago with Merkel Cell Carsinoma which is a very rare and aggressive neuroendocrine cancer of skin origion. I have a team at Mayo but because of the rarity of MCC I conculted an expert researcher in Seattle. This doctor recently sent me some tatoos a patient provided him. It is a ribbon tatoo of red and purple which is often the color of Merkel bump often misdiagnosed as a cyst on the skin. This doctor asked me to wear it proudly for awareness of this cancer. I recently wore it to our local Relay for Life and to my appointment at Mayo to show my doctors there.
I am disappointed that when skin cancer prevention is discussed this skin cancer is never mentioned.
I'm Daniel and I live in Western Australia.
I have Renal (Kidney) Cancer. I have a 2cm tumor in my right kidney. I can't have surgery at the present time as I have a blood disorder that needs to be treated first.
I lost my dad to cancer he was aged 54 I'm 51.
How I cope is in 2 ways...
1./ I tell everyone I can as I feel this creates awareness.
2./ I write about my own story on the web.
I decided against a blog as I don't want pity.
my site is http://www.kidneycancer-mystory.com
my inspiration apart from my beautiful wife and 4 sons, would be my mum, she nursed my dad through his cancer til his death.
It made me realize how strong my mum is and how important family is when there is a problem.
I can't say I blame anyone or anything for my kidney cancer that's not my nature, I don't think there is any point in getting angry or upset but that is me, I'm pretty laid back and take things in my stride.
I only hope I can create an awareness amongst people I know and meet and by getting my story out there I maybe able to help and educate others.
Renal cancer is known as one of the forgotten cancers, as not many people know about it.
Most people don't know they have kidney cancer until the problem is bad, mine was found accidentally when they where looking for blood clots on my lungs. Which is another story :-)
Don't worry be strong, fight like hell and tell everyone you can, get it out there.
Writing things out helps a lot of people even if you write on paper for yourself.
I have been truly inspired by all the patients who were receiving chemotherapy alongside my husband and by the angelic nurses who administered the drugs. Even though the patients were experiencing hours of chemotherapy, there were always smiles from both the patients and the nurses. My husband stayed strong emotionally for me as I tried to do for him, truly inspiring me to do as much as I could to make him comfortable. There are just not enough events to participate in as the fight to eradicate all cancers continues.
I was diagnosed with lung cancer in July, 2010 and I had never smoked. There is a stigma with lung cancer in that most people assumed you smoked and therefore you kind of deserve it, but no one deserves lung cancer. My sisters have become my Hope Warriors and in conjunction with the Lung Cancer Alliance held a lung cancer awareness vigil in November, 2010 and are holding another one this November. They pass out lung cancer fact sheets and information on how to get involved in getting better treatments and early detection for the deadliest of all cancers. It makes me feel so good to not only see my sisters being so proactive, but also how many people they have educated and made aware of just how prevelant lung cancer is now among non-smokers. I do wish all of the cancers would get as much attention as breast cancer. I think that's why I like Stand Up 2 Cancer since they are concerned about all cancers. I know there are other organizations that are concerned about all cancers and I do my best to support them all.
I find inspiration from other patients during my once every 3-week visit for a quick, 30 second Velcade shot under my skin. Yea! No longer through an IV with a chance for my veins to heal. I didn't reach a second remission without Prayer Power, the support of my family and friends, great doctors & nurses, and meds that most multiple myeloma patients never had until 3 years ago. As for a cancer event that inspired me? I have no event except the one that revealed itself on Halloween weekend 2009. I was an emergency admit to Mayo Clinic that saved my life. Further, I give support to people in the chemo room and receive it from those who have reached a remission that guarantees a longer life span than I'll ever have--maybe. The hardest thing for me to see are the children with cancer and the patients who are younger than my 64 years. I have been given 2 extra years of life in which I have been able to see my second granddaughter and my mother just recently. For my fellow cancer patients, I listen to their stories. I offer encouragement and the promise that they'll be posted in my prayer journal. My story gives them hope. We have an instant connection that no one else has. It is a bend in the road of my life journey. It is frustrating and I get angry sometimes. However, I am still here without my husband who I lost to two cancers 5 years ago. I carry his legacy and his love. I am truly blessed and so are all of you.
I was diagnosed almost a year ago with breast cancer. Since then my sleep has suffered immensely. A combination of worry and illness haven't helped much either. When a friend suggested aromatherapy I was welcome to anything...that was about 3 months ago and I have to say after a couple of mediums through which I was trying aromatherapy I have found vaporization to be the best of the best. I discovered gotvape.com while researching the best way to get the most out of these essential oils.
The reason I'm sharing this is because beside all the chemicals and medicines they are having us put into our bodies we need to balance it all out with some peace and tranquility...feeding my mind and body with lavender and eucalyptus vapor has been beyond essential to my recovery...check it out, i promise you it is life altering worth while investment.
I was diagnosed 11 months ago with ovarian cancer. My sister in law has been active with Philly LIvestrong for several years and we had supported her efforts. This year, my husband joined their team "Friends Fighting Cancer" by entering 24HR of Booty. And I will be walking on Sunday for NOCC Break the Silence of Ovarian Cancer. I find it inspiring that so many friends and acquaintances have support our fundraisers for research and awareness. I'm truly looking forward to the Survivor photo at this weekend's event.
I recenlty had a biopsy and it was basal cell carcinoma. The lesion was removed in its entirety thye say. That particular lesion. But I feel and have felt that there is other cancer in my body. Loss of oweight, no appetite, the absolute worst itching in my life, etc other things,,, and since removing the lesionon my back, they have no oconcern at all and didn't even as kme if I had any qyestions which I did. IS it a waste of profesionals time to want to have an exam or tests to make sure there is no more cancer in my body and if I did dwould it stil be basal cell carcinoma if it werein my private organs or stomach or throat?
Many events today are defensive moves against the overwhelming and absurd pink retailing frenzy that has created false impressions about breast cancer and harmed the level of support needed for other cancers. It truly is disgusting when health providers jump on that same band wagon and don't use their knowledge and influence to help all people with cancer.
I have to go in for a biopsy this thur., I had some blood work done and all turned out good. Is this a good indcation that it is not cancer if my white blood count is not up?
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