All Posts tagged brain cancer

World Cancer Day

World Cancer Day

February 4 is World Cancer Day, which means it is time to talk about cancer. The disease is all around us, yet it lurks in the darkness, a sometimes silent killer. 585,720 people died from cancer in the United States in 2014, with 1,665,540 new cases being diagnosed. Another frightening statistic: 40 percent of people will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. Many people do not even realize they have cancer until it is too late to be treated effectively.

While cancer certainly seems scary, it is not a death sentence. If caught early enough, most forms of cancer can be treated before they get any worse. Some cancers, such as breast, skin, thyroid, and prostate cancer, have relatively high five year survival rates. In fact, you only have a 0.8 percent chance of dying within five years if you are diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Some forms of cancer are more treacherous, however. Pancreatic cancer has one of the worst survival rates, with only six percent of patients living past the five year mark. Other deadly cancers include lung and brain cancer.

The best defense against this disease is knowledge. You can take steps to lower your risk by eating healthy, exercising, and avoiding known carcinogens. You can also be aware of risk factors and whether or not you are genetically predisposed to be at a higher risk. While there is no guaranteed way to stop cancer, you can still do your best to prevent it.

World Cancer Day

Cancer affects millions of Americans each year, resulting in pain, suffering, and death. Learn more and spread awareness by taking this quiz.

world cancer day awareness quiz

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Woman Fights for Death with Dignity

Woman Fights for Death with Dignity

Brittany Maynard is 29 years old. And she is going to die in less than a month.

You may have already heard about this story that is quickly sweeping the nation. Brittany, who was recently married and planning on starting a family, was diagnosed with grade 4 glioblastoma on New Year’s Day. This is an aggressive form of brain cancer that is nearly always terminal.

In April, a doctor confirmed that the tumor was spreading and she had a mere six months to live. Typically, brain cancer causes a languishing and slow death with mental deterioration, suffering, and pain.

“I considered passing away in hospice care at my San Francisco Bay-area home,”Brittany told CNN. “But even with palliative medication, I could develop potentially morphine-resistant pain and suffer personality changes and verbal, cognitive and motor loss of virtually any kind.”

Instead, she has opted for physician-assisted suicide to end her life before things get worse. Unfortunately, in her home state of California, it was illegal to pursue death with dignity. Therefore, her and her family moved to Oregon, which is one of only five states which allow aid in dying.

Now she is simply waiting for the right time to administer the medication prescribed to her by a doctor. She has chosen to wait until after her husband’s birthday and has scheduled her final day on November 1.

“I plan to be surrounded by my immediate family, which is my husband, and my mother and my stepfather and my best friend, who is also a physician,” she said of the upcoming fateful day. “I will die upstairs in my bedroom that I share with my husband, with my mother and my husband by my side, and pass peacefully with some music I like in the background.”

While Brittany is planning on a peaceful ending, many similar patients in Pennsylvania are not as lucky. A “Death with Dignity” bill, SB 1032, was introduced in 2013 to legislature, but never acted upon. More recently, there was also the case of dying 93-year-old Joe Yourshaw.

His daughter, Barbara Mancini, was accused of providing him with an overdose of prescription morphine. Luckily, the case was dismissed due to speculation and significant hearsay. Many supporters were supportive of this outcome because of their belief that government officials should not interfere in families’ private medical decisions.

If you are interested in learning more about the progress of death with dignity in Pennsylvania, visit the Compassion & Choices website. They are the official organization pushing for change in the laws against physician-assisted suicide.

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