Raise awareness for all cancers

Kate Rehwinkel

Breast cancer awareness week is coming up on campus, and there are a lot of fun and exciting activities going on to help raise awareness and funds. I am all for raising awareness for breast cancer, however, why do we only promote awareness for breast cancer? I believe we should have a week for other cancers to help promote awareness.

For example, lung, colon, pancreatic and prostate cancers also have high mortality rates, but I do not see many people trying to raise awareness of those cancers as much as people do for breast cancer. I know some people say that people with lung cancer were asking for it because they smoked, but not everyone with lung cancer has smoked cigarettes. Prostate cancer is seen as an “old man’s” disease since men who are older typically get it, but there are those rare cases that strike younger men.

Every cancer is different; however, we cannot cure them if we do not have the funds to do research. I want everyone to treat every cancer the same, so each one should have an awareness week that lets people raise funds.

If there are awareness weeks for the other cancers, I am not aware and it is not well advertised. I encourage campus organizations to have a cancer fundraiser once a semester because we are not just trying to end breast cancer, we want to end all cancers.

According to a Northwestern University study, colon, endometrial, liver and bile duct, cervical, ovarian, pancreatic and lung cancers were all poorly funded compared to how common they are and how many deaths they cause. It is shocking to me that many of my friends do not take preventative measures in detecting cancers.

For example, if a woman is 21 years old or older, or is sexually active before 21 she should get a pap smear. Many of my friends over 21 have never had one before. Pap smears help detect cervical cancer and according to Northwestern’s study cervical cancer is common and can be deadly. It takes less than five minutes to do a pap smear, but it can help detect the cancer early. Prevention is key for any cancer.

For breast cancer prevention it is important to do self exams monthly and get mammograms done regularly after a certain age. 

Colon cancer can be detected through colonoscopies, and men should also be checked for prostate and testicular cancers as well during yearly checkups. My parents have informed me of how critical it is to take these preventative measures because if cancer is caught early then it could mean the difference of life or death.

If you do not think your health is important, then your priorities are not correct. We need more funding for all cancers. Breast cancer is not the only cancer that kills people, and as a society we need to start caring about funding the rest of the cancers just as much.


Kate Rehwinkel is a senior management major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].