(Editor’s Note: Bill Matthies has been a TWICE blogger and contributor for more than two decades. In this blog Bill departs from our usual industry coverage to discuss as he says is “a far more important topic.)
Sitting in a Seattle coffee shop the other day, I overheard a woman who appeared to be in her mid 60’s, ask about the health of the daughter of man of similar age, as the two of them sat talking, drinking coffee. He replied, “She’s as good as can be expected given that her cancer has spread.”
From the rest of the conversation I learned his daughter was 38 and had undergone a double mastectomy, followed by chemotherapy and radiation treatments, only to learn her cancer had progressed throughout her lymph system.
He said that prior to her diagnosis she hadn’t given much thought to the disease and never self-examined, nor up to that point even had a mammogram.
“If only she had”, he said looking away from the woman, obviously deep in thought about his daughter’s future.
If we were to talk more openly about our health than most of us do, we would discover many friends, family, co-workers, and the like who have been diagnosed with a variety of cancers, many of which need not be lethal assuming early detection. That includes a large number of people, no doubt including some of you right now.
For example prostate cancer occurs in approximately 18 percent of men, ranging from just over 8 percent of those 45 to 54, increasing to 37 percent of men 65 to 74. Around 12 percent of women will experience breast cancer with approximately 5 percent of all men and women contracting colon or rectal cancer at some point in their lives.
Every one of us either has experienced cancer, knows someone who has, and/or undoubtedly will at some point in our lives, with unfortunately far too many facing the worst possible outcome. However the worst doesn’t necessarily have to happen.
This past September I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and in early November, underwent radical robotic prostatectomy surgery to have my prostate removed. My cancer was detected at a very early stage and now some three months later, and just past my first post surgery blood test, the outlook is good; in my doctor’s words, “This was a cure, not a treatment.”
I am very fortunate but we all know others who have not been, including many high profile individuals in the CE industry who are no longer with us. My reason for telling you my story now in this very public forum is to encourage you to have the tests that could save your life, and talk to your friends and family suggesting they do the same.
Recognize that fear of cancer is normal but not a reason to prevent you from acting on your own behalf. Take an active interest in your health including, in the case of women, self-examining regularly. And for both men and women, have the tests that can give you the benefit of early detection, talking with your health care providers regarding their meaning.
Breast, colon, and prostate cancer are a reality for all of us. But fortunately not one we necessarily have to die from.
Finally, I want to thank TWICE for allowing me to deviate from our usual discussions of business to this far more important topic.