Pay attention to the warning signs of Cancer
Editor’s note: This column was written by my mother, Lee Robinson, and published in April, 1966. She died from complications with cancer two years after this column appeared.
by Lee Robinson
It is common knowledge that women are personal creatures. Even though we all aspire to be individuals, most of us share common bonds. We concern ourselves with domestic trivia, beauty lore, weight problems, and some women frantically fight the inroads of the aging process. We swap trade secrets on all these problems and somehow or other we cope with day-to-day living.
Women survive in this curious jungle despite poverty, marital failure, physical limitations and in some instances, emotional instability. And they survive the erosive burden of fear and they frequently carry that burden alone.
Last week Betty Parks, an outstanding columnist in this newspaper, wrote about her personal experience with cancer. Betty is one of the lucky few who survived the dread disease. She advocated early diagnosis. She had good reason to fear the possibility of cancer because she had lost three members of her family to this ugly marauder.
Since Betty and I dabble in the same craft we have developed a rapport; we swap words of encouragement and compare notes, as females often do. I have always been impressed by the fact that Betty is an optimistic sort and the type of person who possesses great courage and strength.
I particularly recall a conversation last fall when Betty told me she would be unable to do her weekly column for awhile. She was scheduled for a return trip to the hospital. I wished her well, but I was bitter for my friend. I have a personal vendetta with cancer.
One very special friend lost her battle with cancer. She was snatched away within three weeks of the time cancer diagnosis was confirmed.
My mother, who has always been the epitome of energy and good health, learned early last year that she had a tumor which showed signs of malignancy. The early diagnosis and surgery saved her life as it did Betty Parks.
Oddly enough, when I went in for a routine medical check because my energy was at a low ebb the last thought in my mind was the possibility of cancer. First, they told me I had a fairly common ailment known as angina pectoris. They said slow down. I said o.k. and I was more annoyed than worried. Then they said they wanted to run a check on a small cyst to determine if it might be of a malignant nature. Now I was worried. Have you ever sweated out a three-week wait for the laboratory reports? I was lucky. It was not a malignant growth.
It is possible to survive many types of cancer. Research will help to discover new ways to combat malignancies. Ultimately, we may see the day when we can prevent cancer before it begins. And what about the heredity factor? The medical world is not sure that this disease is inherited. They say they have not determined the question either way. We do not know enough about cancer.
Betty hopes you will contribute whatever you can to the Cancer Drive April 19-24. So do I.
(Editors Note: One current upcoming cancer event is Climb to Fight Cancer coming this May)
Sure, I know that all of us are constantly being asked to contribute to many organizations. I know the cost of living is rising. But I figure sharing what we have is the price we pay for the space we occupy on earth. Who can say there is no value in helping to save lives?
Betty and my mother are recovering, and I am very grateful. If there had been no research, they might not be so lucky. Research has also developed the tests that make it possible to detect the invasion of cancer in the earliest stages. And if you are the type who might worry needlessly these tests save a lot of wear and tear on your nervous system.
So, I hope you'll make it a point to be informed on cancer symptoms and if you have an ache or pain, seek early diagnosis. I want you to stick around for a long time, my friends.