The battles we donít talk about
ďWell, itís cancer.Ē
Thatís the message I received a few weeks ago from a dear friend. She had feared as much, and I had tried to reassure her that everything would be OK.
In the wake of the diagnosis, I asked if there was anything I could do to help. She responded that she had started to say no, but then thought better of it. What I could do to help, she said, would be to write about cervical and ovarian cancer and the need for more research into not just breast cancer but other forms of cancer that typically affect women.
I have had friends with breast cancer. One, the daughter of the basketball coach at my high school and a longtime coach herself, has battled it for years. Through it all, she has remained positive and optimistic and Iím glad to say that she seems to be doing well now.
Certainly, I support the fight against breast cancer. Iím glad to see a spotlight shined on an evil disease. But, as my friend pointed out, weíd be remiss to ignore other forms of womenís cancer.
Breast cancer, of course, is a potentially deadly disease. But so, too, are ovarian cancer and cervical cancer. Just like breast cancer, they have the potential to kill wives and mothers and daughters and grandmothers and sisters and friends. Itís important that we all recognize this.
Several years ago, I worked in the sports department of the statewide newspaper. Friday nights were especially hectic there, as we scrambled to get information on high school football and basketball games across the state. One of our writers was married to a high school English and French teacher who often would come to the office to lend a hand on Friday nights. Frequently, sheíd bring cookies or some other treat. Always, she brought a smile, a bright disposition and an extra hand.
We were all heartsick when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the winter of 2006. She fought the disease as hard as she could, but sadly she lost her battle in March 2007.
Quite likely, you didnít expect to read this sort of column today. Perhaps you expected to shake your head at a liberal-leaning political column, or chuckle a bit at a column about my beloved Chicago Cubs, or maybe even smile as I provided an update on my grandsons.
Those things are all important to me, but my friends are important to me, too. Iíll never have cervical cancer, or ovarian cancer, but people I care about have. Unfortunately, the odds are that more of them will.
For those of you who contribute to cancer research, thank you. Every dollar helps. Please, donít stop supporting the fight against all forms of cancer. At the same time, please donít forget ovarian cancer and cervical cancer. The life you save may belong to someone you hold dear.
To my dear, sweet friend: This is for you. I love you.
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Scott Loftis is managing editor for Carroll County Newspapers. His email address is CarrollCountyNews@cox-internet.com.