Viewpoint: Cancer awareness needs more public attention

Imagine yourself lying on an ice-cold bed with tubes running throughout your body as you begin to wonder if you’re going to make it. You stare out the window wishing you could be free and enjoying life. While this may sound depressing, it is the sad reality for many cancer patients.

Cancer is a deadly disease that affects not only the millions of people who are diagnosed yearly, but their friends and family as well. Cancer has impacted most people in one way or another. Researchers are looking for cures but have yet to find one.

The only positive news thus far is the increased number of survivors. According to an article by the National Cancer Institute, there is a decline in death rates among several cancers, such as lung and breast cancer.

However, without a cure, there is always the risk of a relapse. Despite the numbers, the number of diagnoses for certain cancers is increasing. We need to step up as individuals and help find a cure, because in one instant your life can be changed.

February was National Cancer Prevention and many organizations spread awareness in various ways. For example, the Lady Bears Basketball team played in the “Sic’em for the Cure” game against TCU to spread awareness for breast cancer. They encouraged fans to wear pink for support.

I am not a doctor, nor do I ever wish to be one (mainly because I’m not called to be a doctor), but that doesn’t mean I can’t help. For me, cancer is personal because I have lost many people to this disease.

That is why I decided to do Relay For Life at Baylor. Not only do I participate in the event, but also as a committee member I get to help plan the event with other members.
This experience has been one of the greatest events I have participated in because I really am making a difference. Last year, we had a speaker come and talk to us about how the American Cancer Society helped when he had cancer.

He mentioned the fact that cancer treatment has improved significantly as doctors are learning more. The advancements in medicine in the past two years are astounding due to all the money that goes to research.

It may not seem that way, but number of survivors proves it. We have a long way to go before we find a cure, but at least we are still trying. We owe it to the patients and their families.

One doesn’t have to be in a laboratory trying to find a cure; a simple donation can do the trick. Spreading awareness, participating in cancer walks, participating in the Relay For Life event at Baylor, all of that can make an impact. People are in hospitals wondering if they can see another day, the least we can do is help in any way we can.
Those people might be strangers, but what if they weren’t?

Think of it this way: Last year Invisible Children made a video and tried to start the Kony 2012 movement, a campaign to make an obscure criminal more known to the world. While it lasted a short time due to certain circumstances, it still got people’s attention.

It went viral and exploded on social media and most importantly it got people talking. Why can’t cancer awareness explode like that?

Cancer affects everyone around the globe, so doesn’t it deserve that kind of attention? Has it been around so long that people overlook it? Imagine what would happen if everyone cared and did something.

Parmida Schahhosseini is a junior journalism-public relations major from Houston. She is a sports writer for the Lariat.