Don’t Trade Comfort or Convenience Now for Your Health Later

The word, “cancer,” looms over us like an ominous dark cloud in the distance. Every pain or discomfort that we feel, we tend to fear the worst. Because of our fear and to avoid bad news, we avoid getting persistent pains checked out, we postpone appointments, we become lackadaisical with screenings and even go so far as to cover up or ignore disconcerting symptoms. But where is this avoidance getting us?


I’ll agree with you on one thing. Cancer is a scary diagnosis. I’ve seen it diagnosed many times, and it’s never received well. So it makes sense that we’d do nearly anything to avoid hearing those words ourselves. But the one thing worse than the “C” word is when you’re sitting with the doctor in an office or possibly in the ER, and the only words she can offer you are, “If we’d only caught it sooner,” or “there’s nothing we can do at this stage but manage the pain.”


Hearing this is the equivalent of missing your plane and learning there are no more flights to that location…ever. In most aspects of our life, we’re not used to there being no solution. It seems like there is always something that can be done, but this is not true when cancer is allowed to spread. The choice that once seemed like the protective and safer option proves very flawed in the face of undetected cancer.


Now imagine this has happened to your best friend, sibling, spouse or parent. The only reason their life can’t be saved is because they waited too long to get help. To me, there’s nothing more heartbreaking than that experience, especially because most screenings are not that terrible to go through. Mammograms, colonoscopies, blood work, pap smears and skin exams are relatively painless experiences. They are simple and minimally invasive procedures that when done regularly can spot irregularities, affording you the chance to deal with problems early – when not only the survival rates are good, but when the treatment options are still diverse and varied.


We can all do our best to live healthy lives. We can eat foods packed with antioxidants, exercise religiously, apply sunscreen liberally and avoid carcinogens, but sometimes despite our best efforts, we still fall ill. Sometimes, it’s just how our particular genetics react with the environment around us. In those cases, the only defense is preventive screening.


I know it’s scary to subject yourself to the possibility of bad news. But just remember how bad the news can get if you opt to wait it out. There’s nothing worse than losing a loved one because they waited too long to seek care. If not for you, get screenings done for your loved ones.


Let’s prevent cancer from getting a hold on our bodies. There are lots of options in the early stages of the disease, but these quickly drop off as time goes by. If it’s a challenge for you to make the appointment and brace yourself for the results, set up a reward for yourself every time you put your health first. Indulge in a bubble bath after that mammogram or take yourself for a night out after that colonoscopy. If treating yourself gets you to take a positive step for your health, it’s absolutely worth it.