Cancer is the ‘C’ word that all of us are afraid to hear our doctors say.Unfortunately, the older we get, especially over the age of 40-50, the more likely it is that we may hear that frightening word – cancer.

For men, we fear skin, bone, lung, and pancreatic cancer, but not nearly as much as we fear testicular and prostate cancer. For women over 40-50, they also fear the more common forms of cancer that can strike anyone, but they really fear ovarian, cervical and breast cancer.

Not only do these strike terror in the lives of many women, but the thought of losing a part of themselves that identify with their femininity can be devastating. Finding out one has ovarian or cervical cancer can mean the end of child bearing for younger women or the fear of losing sexual intimacy with their husband.

From the women I’ve known and spoken to, it seems most fear losing one or both breasts even more. To many women, their breasts directly affect their appearance to the rest of the world and the last thing they want is to appear more flat chested than their husbands or boyfriends.

Detecting cancer is also something most people, including women, want to avoid. Having a long needle inserted into one’s breast, lung or other vital body part can be quite painful as well as intrusive and embarrassing. Currently, my 40-year-old daughter is dreading the thought of having a needle biopsy of a small tumor forming in her one lung. She has a rare non-hereditary genetic condition called McCune Albright Syndrome. One of the effects of the syndrome is tumors, which can occur anywhere in the body. While most are generally benign, some can become cancerous.

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