I have been a physician for over 20 years. In that time, I have shared with my patients the entire spectrum of emotions, from the joyous elation of young parents learning the news of a twin pregnancy to the sadness and agony that comes with a terrible diagnosis, such as cancer. That pretty much summarizes the roller coaster ride that doctors take as they share in the life experiences of their patients. What happens in a doctor’s day is not all good, but it is not all bad, either. Fact is, most days you get a hefty dose of both. Through it all, it is important that we remember that all of these things happen to real people, people just like us, people just like our family members and our friends and neighbors.

Cancer is always a tough thing to deal with, for the patient, for the family, and for the physician whose chosen duty it is to deliver care. Plain and simple, there are few things more devastating than a diagnosis of cancer. It often comes like a hammer blow to all concerned. Cancer comes in many shapes and forms, but it is always tough to deal with, physically and emotionally. As tragic as cancer is, it also provides a chance for us to display the very best of our human qualities as we rally around those afflicted and as we endeavor through medical science to understand and seek to put an end to it forever.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and this is an excellent opportunity for us to step up and show how determined we are to fight against this destroyer of human health. Through education and through a continuing commitment to research and improved diagnosis and treatment, we are making a difference in this battle.

Throughout October, communities and institutions are holding events and doing screenings. Survivors are sharing inspiring stories about how they found the strength to fight their cancers and are showing support for those who are currently struggling through the complexities of their own conditions. Pulling together, we communicate, we collaborate, and we move out with a common mission. We turn calamity into an opportunity for the beautiful parts of humanity to shine brightly. Through our efforts, we set a goal not to simply increase the numbers who survive breast cancer, but to decrease the numbers who are ever afflicted in the first place.

Awareness is crucial because it keeps us focused on these tasks, but even more importantly because it can lead to better and more frequent screenings and therefore earlier detection. The earlier breast cancer is found and treated, the better the chances not only of survival, but also of improved quality of life for survivors.

Breast cancer is a human tragedy. Our fight to beat it is a good thing, one which we can rally around regardless of our differences. Please participate in the activities going on in our communities and do your part to speed up our ultimate triumph over this and all other forms of cancer.

My best wishes to you and your family. God bless!


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