Awareness important tool in fighting cancer

Clyde Davis

Before getting into this column, I need to make a correction and apology.

To my Lutheran colleagues: It seems probable the Martin Luther incident never occurred — the punch in the nose over Holy Communion.

The church history professor from whom I heard the story is very likely no longer alive; he was 70 years old in 1981.

On to the matter at hand. October, as many of you may know, is breast cancer awareness month; it is also domestic violence awareness month.

This leaves one with not a need to find a suitable topic, but the necessity to whittle down topics. It also, at least in the case of the above, leaves no room for levity.

A week or two ago, while in Lubbock for my own cancer checkup, I did become aware, through the publicity at the Arrington Center, that Lubbock is having an awareness event as part of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure program. I am also intrigued by the 60 miles in 3 days events, which among other locations, have been held already in Denver, and will be held in November in Dallas. Of the two, Denver sounds more appealing, but Dallas in November might actually be a comfortable temperature.

There is simply no substitute for awareness and caution. I am sure that like the many other forms of cancer that people greet with “It can’t happen to me,” breast cancer often gives early warning signs that both women and men — yes, men — choose to ignore.

As I’ve furthered the research on this, I have discovered that both the Amarillo and the Lubbock Race for the Cure events have already been held.

All I can say — what a reason to go to Dallas and get a very early start on your Christmas shopping. (It’s early in November)

It doesn’t take much research, however, to know that many instances of breast cancer are treatable, with early detection adding to the chances of a normal recovery. Do not avoid or let the women you love avoid the standard and very easily obtained methods for early detection.

The world of cancer is changing, and changing for the better. Many of the readers of this column can easily recall when the word signified a death sentence, or at the very least, a series of life-threatening treatments.

I still keep up on that world, through two great magazines called Cure and Care, since I still have to occasionally minister to cancer patients. As a survivor, I was very touched a few weeks ago when our CCS Girls’ Volleyball Team had a fundraising bake sale, specifically for breast cancer, during lunch. Yes, I even wore a shirt of a particularly manly shade of pink, that day.

There is, in one way of thinking, a bond that unites cancer survivors, whatever the type, akin to that of cops, or veterans, etc.

When a famous politician was revealed to have cheated on his wife, who is seriously and perhaps terminally ill with breast cancer, my first thought to my wife was “Just give him over to a bunch of us male survivors and let us deal with him — teach him to do that to a sister.”

Enough, then, to encourage you, and to encourage you to encourage others, to get your checkups and stay on top of this.

If you have to wear a pink ribbon, you want it to be in honor of you, not in memory.