I haven’t had cancer yet, but according to the American Cancer Society there is a 45% chance that I will contract some form of it before the end of my life. The same goes for you if you are a male. For women, the statistics aren’t quite so bad. You have “only” a 38% chance of contracting cancer before the end of your life.
On the other hand, the Mayo Clinic encourages us to view these statistics very carefully.
“Just because studies have found that men have a nearly 50 percent chance of developing cancer in their lifetimes doesn’t mean that your risk, if you’re a man, is 50 percent. Your individual risk is based on many different factors, such as your age and habits, your family history of cancer, and the environment in which you live.”
Well said. I would add that it also greatly depends on if you, or someone close to you, uses tobacco or not. The point is, some of us have a much lower risk of developing cancer and others have a much higher risk than these averages indicate.
For many people, looking at their family history regarding cancer can be scary, but it is the first step in assessing your own odds. My Dad passed away at 77 a few years ago from Multiple Myeloma, a blood cancer. All other things being constant, that fact elevates my odds a little. Does it put me above the average 45%? Hard to say. Although there have been other cancers in my family tree, the numbers are low and that makes me feel lucky.
MY THEORY ABOUT CANCER TREATMENTS
Every once in a while there is a leap in the understanding of a particular form of cancer as the result of the work of some researchers and improvements to treatment follows, but progress has been slow. I have a theory about cancer treatments. Considering how slow progress is in developing new treatments, and considering how fast the disease will either be “cured” or will kill you, once you are diagnosed, you will fight your cancer using whatever treatments are available on that day. Odds are your fight will be over before any new innovative treatment is available for your type of cancer.
What this means is, we need to encourage the discovery of new developments and new treatments before we get cancer, not after. There won’t be enough time afterward no matter which way it goes for us—good or bad. Now is the time to help in the pursuit of these new discoveries and treatments.
I developed this theory during the time I was helping to take care of my Dad as he went through his treatment back in 2008. The next year a new organization was formed in Columbus, Ohio that was perfect for enabling this kind of encouragement through financial donations that go directly to cancer research.
Pelotonia is a fund-raising bike ride that collects money to fund cancer research at The Ohio State University James Cancer Hosptial and the Solove Research Institute. Thanks to corporate sponsorship, 100% of the money donated to Pelotonia riders and supporters goes to cancer research and equipment.
I have ridden in the Pelotonia bike ride every year since then and I have personally raised more than $8,900 by soliciting donations through my ride in the first three years, including my own personal contributions. The first year I rode 43 miles, the second year 102 miles, and last year 180 miles (over two days). Each increase in distance represents an increased fundraising commitment.
I am riding again this year (at least 100 miles) and I am seeking donations from people who are forward-looking enough to recognize the validity of my theory! (Or who simply recognize a good cause when they see it, regardless of the validity of my theory!) 😉
I have made an initial contribution to my own ride but it won’t show up on my contribution list for a few more weeks because I have applied for matching funds through my late employer. My wife and I believe in the cause and I will assure you that, in the end, our personal contributions will meet or exceed any single contribution made through my ride by any other person.
If you would like to donate to cancer research and help expedite the development of new understanding and treatments for cancer, please click on this link and then click on the green “Donate to my ride” button above my picture. When you do I will make sure you receive my Pelotonia recap, which will be sent out after I recover.
(A note to my friends at Cardinal Health: Please use the Cardinal Health GivingStation or myGiving websites to enter your donation to assure the 100% corporate matching donation. Enter “Rider Dirk Rodgers, DR0004”.)
I thank you in advance. Your future-self thanks you in advance!