“Cancer solidified my outlook that the glass is always half full, not half empty.”
– Eden Stotsky-Himelfarb
Put on your navy blue ribbons, because March is colorectal cancer awareness month. According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is the third most diagnosed cancer in the United States, and the second most lethal. And while about 90% of cases occur in people who are age 50 years older (CenterForDiseaseControl&Prevention), young adults do not escape its impact. The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults is connected with many young adults who feel the effects of colorectal cancer through their parents, grandparents and relatives. Judging from the staggering statistics, you can see why so many Americans have connections to colorectal cancer.
Over 140,000 Americans will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer this year*
Over 45,000 of the diagnosed cases will be fatal*
The lifetime risk of developing colon cancer is about one in twenty, or 5%*
*Colon Cancer Alliance
However, colorectal cancer doesn’t have to be one of the most deadly cancers in America. The survival rates for colorectal cancer, when caught early, are particularly high. And there are a number of preventative measures you can take to decrease your risk:
Screening can save lives. Regular testing leads to early diagnoses, allowing for early treatment, which often leads to a cure.**
Over 90% of those diagnosed when the cancer is found at a local stage (confined to the color or rectum) survive more than five years.*
Once the cancer spreads to a regional stage (spreads to surrounding tissue) the five year survival rate drops to 69%*
When colorectal cancer spreads to distant sites, only 12% of those diagnosed will reach the five-year survival milestone. *
Along with regular screening, increasing your daily amount of physical exercise, avoiding obesity, not drinking in excess, and quitting smoking are all proven measures in preventing colorectal cancer**
The 2014 Surgeon General’s Report concluded that smoking is a leading cause of colorectal cancer.**
Add more fruits and vegetables to your diet and limit your intake of red and processed meats*
*Colon Cancer Alliance
Eden Stotsky-Himelfarb, who has been involved with The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults for several years, experienced her cancer journey at the age of 26, and is one of the thousands of young adults affected by this disease. In 2007, she shared her story in UCF’s “My Way”, a curated booklet of cancer survivors’ experiences. Her positive outlook on her experience is truly an inspiration for all of us:
By Eden Stotsky-Himelfarb
There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about cancer.
There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t think about my dad who passed away at the very young age of 65. Losing my dad is the worst thing that has ever happened to me.
Cancer is the best thing that ever happened to me.
So, why is cancer the best thing that ever happened to me?
Cancer has taught me some extremely important lessons.
Cancer taught me to never take anything for granted.
Cancer taught me not to sweat the small stuff.
Cancer taught me to tell someone how I am feeling at the moment I have the feeling instead of waiting.
Cancer encouraged me to think about childbearing when I wasn’t quite ready.
Cancer allowed me to share a bond with other cancer survivors.
Cancer taught me how to live life to the fullest.
Cancer makes me get out of bed every morning and be thankful to be alive.
Cancer makes me stop and smell the roses.
Cancer made me face my own mortality at the age of 26.
Cancer led me to The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults, the organization that came to my rescue months after I was diagnosed.
Cancer helped me understand what both of my parents survived.
Cancer led me to nursing school.
Cancer has introduced me to some amazing doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, social workers, technicians, patient support coordinators, and of course, other patients.
Cancer solidified my outlook that the glass is always half full, not half empty.
Cancer continues to help me turn lemons into lemonade.
Cancer taught me that life is truly too short to be unhappy.
Cancer has allowed me to explore death, a part of the cycle of life.
I am a cancer survivor and have been since November 12,1997, the day of my diagnosis.
Support colorectal cancer awareness this month by taking the time to get screened and encourage your family and friends to do the same. After the age of 45, everyone should undergo screening on a yearly basis, along with a physical exam.* And you can support those effected by cancer this month, and every month, by volunteering with The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults. From delivering our CemoCare bags to cancer centers, working with a cancer survivor as they train for a 5k footrace, or helping at any number of our events, you can change the lives of those impacted by this disease. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about volunteering.
Cancers Changes Lives…So Do We!
Interested in sharing the story of your cancer journey? Know someone who has/is facing cancer who inspires you? Contact email@example.com.