AWARENESS IS THE KEY, HELP US SPREAD IT
The Basics, Local Impact and Importance of its Education
By: Aimee Marmol
Cancer occurs when the body keeps multiplying cells at an abnormal pace, resulting in the formation of a mass, called a tumor. If the tumor doesn’t expand, then it is considered to be benign, or not life threatening. However, if it spreads, then it is considered to be malignant, or cancerous.
While there are many other diseases that have great impact on society, in the Dominican Republic, cancer is the third top cause of death. Yearly, 49,000 people in this tiny island loose their life to this fatal disease. Out of the entire population, men have the highest mortality rate, although this is not to say that women have few casualties, for it is not as such.
This mortal disease just seems to keep increasing as the years go by, taking more and more innocent lives as it storms its way through society. This is no different in the Dominican Republic. The number of cancer patients seems to not cease, and with the poor health care of the local hospitals, and the low economic positions that most cancer subjects posses, this cases usually result in an even higher number of casualties.
This is an illness that affects all of us, every single person in the islet. It may not affect you individually but it affects everything around you. The question is though, why should we care? We are not being personally affected, we are not being directly damaged…yet. And there is the key word ‘yet’. God forbid it, but you never know what may happen in a few years, it may not be you that is distressed, but it may be anyone you love or care for.
So is cancer a condition that has impacted and keeps impacting society enough that it has gained the right to be publicly known and educated in? Of course. Preventing cancer can be tried, but sometimes it’s inherited; no matter what, there is nothing you can do to stop it. So what can you do? You can be ready for it.
Early diagnosis is the best way to cure cancer effectively. To be diagnosed you need to learn what cancer is, how it starts, how it affects you. One needs to grasp what the symptoms are, one needs to know their body. Education on the topic can help a person know when this illness is coming, and that knowledge could save their life.
In conclusion, cancer in the Dominican Republic is a increasingly powerful malady. It affects this isle in an outrageous way, and if not controlled and educated on, it will only keep doing so. Education on the topic is crucial to its prevention and healing. The Dominican Republic is but a small country where this disease predominates and thus why its awareness is critical.
Cancer Foundations in the Dominican Republic
In the Dominican Republic, the Breast cancer deaths reached 514 or 1.13% of total deaths. The age adjusted death rate is 11.75 per 100,000 of population ranks Dominican Republic #123 in the world. Some causes of cancer include: genetic factors, lifestyle factors such as tobacco use, diet and physical activity, certain type of infections and environmental exposures to different types of chemical and radiation. There are also consequences of cancer, which includes: fatigue, pain, incontinence (bowel and bladder), sexual difficulties, osteoporosis, nausea and vomiting, body changes, risk of infection, cardiovascular disease, psychosocial problems, swallowing and speech difficulties and lymphoedema.
We have various foundations that supports cancer. La Fundación de Amigos contra el Cáncer Infantil (FACCI), is an non-profit organization of the Dominican Republic it jeopardize in improving the life conditions of the children with cancer, of limited economic resources. Thanks to the support of people and companies that of one way or another have collaborated with us, we (FACCI) have obtained so much the increase of the survival index, like the quality of life of these children. Our mission is to help to replace in coordination with the body of doctors directed by Dr. Rosa Nieves Paulino, the urgent needs of better diagnoses, oncology medicines and general support, presented by these children and their families.
Another cancer foundation in the Dominican Republic is Fundación Caminantes por la Vida. This foundation brings economic help to other non-profit institutions that deals with the prevention and treatment of cancer. La Fundación caminantes por la Vida always organizes activities that includes the entire family to help raise money. The latest activity they had was in October 17-18/2015 “Camina por la Esperanza”. Thanks to the massive support and the unifying effect it has reached each edition of Caminantes por la Vida , this year the Fundación Caminantes por la Vida extends this feeling of solidarity throughout the country with La Ruta de la Esperanza. A 2-day hike linking 10 provinces in a single cause : to raise awareness about the importance of prevention and raise funds for the various institutions of the country who work in the fight against cancer.
The next foundation in the list is Liga Dominicana Contra El Cancer. Is a non-profit organization created to prevent, detect and treat cancer. Founded in 1942 and obtained its incorporation in 1947, this organization has the responsibility to ensure the proper functioning of the institute of Oncology “Dr. Heriberto Pieter” and promotes its developments, providing high-tech equipment required for modern cancer treatments. With your contribution, you can make it possible for a cancer patient of the oncology institute “Dr. Heriberto Pietre” receive his or her chemotherapy. The latest news about this foundation is that Andrea Hair Center makes a donation of 200 wigs to La Liga Dominicana Contra El Cáncer.
Finally, we have La Fundación St. Jude. This foundation was inspired by Miguel, son of the founders. Miguel was diagnosed with leukemia in summer of 1994. He received treatment in Memphis, Tennessee in the hospital St. Jude, a non-profit organization created by the actor Danny Thomas. Miguel and his father Alberto went to Tennessee, while his mother, brother and sisters stayed here working to maintain their home. Three years later, in 1997 Miguel had the opportunity to go back home. At the age of 17, he enrolled in the School of Graphic Design at the University APEC. In June, 1998, Miguel felt sick again and went back to the hospital in Tennessee. This time, the only cure was a marrow transplant. Although the organism accepted the transplant, his body was very hurt because of all the chemotherapies received before. Miguel died on February 16, 1999. A year later, his parents, family and friends decided to create La Fundación St. Jude honoring Miguel and his desire of helping other dominican children with cancer.
There are many institutions in the Dominican Republic that supports all type of cancer. Let’s help those in need, those whose hope have been brought down because of this horrible disease, and those that need a little push to fight it. Let’s make a change and demonstrate the world and cancer that we are undefeatable.
Effect on Mental Health
Cancer is a widely talked about topic, and people who suffer or have suffered from it are often perceived as weak. The truth is that cancer patients are anything but weak. The treatment they receive is not easy, not at all, for which I must say that those who suffer or have suffered from the disease are some strong fighters. Cancer not only affects your inner health (organs), but it also takes a toll on your mental stability. As I stated before, cancer treatment is really hard and not everyone is able to go through it. The relation between cancer and your mental/emotional health relies on the fact that having this disease makes you feel powerless and weak, as there’s really no cure for it and you lose hope. Also, you can’t do nearly as much things as you would if you were in a perfect health state. I wanted the opinion and outlook of someone who has experienced this firsthand, so I decided it would be a great idea to talk to my aunt. She has suffered from this disease three times already, so I wanted to ask her a few questions on how cancer has affected her mental well being.
If you didn’t previously know, scientists have not yet invented the medicine to cure cancer, for which the patients undergo certain treatments. One of these is called chemotherapy- its the strongest. The other one is called radiotherapy, which is very aggressive as well but doesn’t debilitate your body as much as chemotherapy does. In some cases, the cancer tumor can be nab removed, but you will still need to undergo one of the two treatments to make sure the cancer is gone for good.
My aunt was not very happy to talk about the topic, but after I pushed her softly, she gave in and hoped for the best. She confessed to me that talking about this topic makes her sad at times because she remembers when she was in the verge of dying, and how bad it felt to see your body deteriorating. My aunt also reaffirmed to me that cancer does affect your mental health. She told me that when she was diagnosed with cancer the second time. she fell into depression. You might be asking yourself why, but don’t worry, I have the answer for it. My aunt fell into a depression because chemotherapy was killing her inside, just the thought of having cancer and having to deal with that was making her feel hopeless and sad. She told me as well that the first time she got diagnosed with the sides, she went on google and spent the whole night looking through articles, wanting to get fed up on the topic. This only made things worse. The internet can be very helpful when you know how to use it, and only in certain times. Other times the internet just doesn't help, a most of the time they provide fake information or a piece that is not backed up by scientifical researches. In this case, having your information backed up is key. Why? Well, thats because medicine is very serious and you can’t just believe something someone put up on the internet, because you never know who that person is and what their intentions are. Back to the main topic, the internet provides non factual information that is sometimes able to make cancer patients feel like they’re not gonna be able to survive. It can be a source of information as well, only if its used properly, just be careful what you look up on the internet. Another things cancer patients are brought down by is the fact that if their hair fell out and they go out on the streets, people start looking at them in a very weird way. That might seem lie a little thing, but this tiny tiny thing could get in your head among other things and just completely be the trigger of a mental breakdown.
My point with this article is to let you all know that cancer not only destroys you on the inside, but it alsp destroys your mental/emotional well being. Cancer is harder than most people might think it is. In conclusion, most people with cancer lose their hope and are ready to die at any second, foe which we have to let them know they have out full support. Thank you for reading this.
By: Enrique Peynado
Each year 8.2 million people die from cancer , an estimated amount of almost 13% of all deaths worldwide.
Some global organizations are:
World Health Organization of Cancer:
“WHO” cancer , prevents the infection of cancer , by showing the things that can cause the disease , for example the use of tobacco , alcohol , places with environmental pollution , the use of radiation , and other types of infections.
They also have treatments to help for the cause of this disease , which the first step is to have a diagnosis to cure the disease , but they also have major treatment modalities that will help with their treatment.
American cancer society , is one of the biggest groups of charity , that is helping since 1913 in the help of bringing a change , and helping people dying of this disease every day.
“AOS” encourages people to learn the causes and effects of cancer , and to learn how to prevent this disease , by giving sources of the damage this can do to our body here are some examples:
Polluted Environments , Use of Tobacco , Alcohol.To help , the “AOS” , provides to global and local cancer organizations , hospitals , and global cancer ministries their support to make a change.