www.whyville.net Dec 29, 2008 Weekly Issue

Guest Writer

I Hate You

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Cowardly, you hide yourself in the most innocent people, my friends and family. You have no remorse. How could you drain them of their lives, their character, and their beauty? You pathetic killer. You break them and bend them into puppets. Until their last breath, you might finally smile. For you have won. Like always. Left and right my friends and family fall to you. I've lost teachers, an aunt, cousins, and a grandparent to you. I've donated every last dollar to causes that fight you. But, it seems like you always win. Why?

The only thing I have to say is very predictable. I hate you more than anything in this world. I will always hate you. I hate you. And you means cancer.

The last few months have been simply a nightmare for my family and I. This also relates to my absence from the Times. My nightmare began in August, where I lost my grandmother to cancer. In September, I lost a cousin to the same monster. How about October? (You get the pattern.) Right now, I have another cousin taking on cancer and I hope the best for her. She has cancer in her spinal cord, bones, and brain.

So far, December has been promising. I'm writing this story to inform you of what cancer is, because some people have no idea. I have been asked several questions by Whyville friends that I would like to answer. I would rather have you know now, than have to do the research when the time comes. Hopefully, you will never have to deal with this monster. Happy Holidays, Taffii.

What are you? Cancer cells are very different from normal cells in many ways. As you may already know, our cells constantly grow at a steady pace and duplicate in the body. Cancer cells, however, are uncontrollable and grow from abnormal cells. The cells mutate or change in ways we can not control. Cancerous cells can appear ANYWHERE in the body and carry out no specific function. A normal skin cell will protect our bodies, but cancer cells just sit and multiply. Our cells feed off oxygen and nutrients, while cancer cells feed off of sugar. Also, unlike our normal cells, cancer cells "forget" to die. They live much longer than our normal cells do, allowing them to grow larger and larger to form tumors and spread throughout the body. This information is very general. Cancer is still very new.

This mole on a man's ankle grew into a cancerous tumor.

Causes? Most causes of cancer are still unknown. Some known causes are tobacco, radiation, sunlight, and certain viruses. Certain cancers are more common in certain parts of the world. In China, gastric cancer is the most common type of cancer. While in the U.S., gastric cancer is a rather rare form of cancer. Differences in lifestyle and diet may be a factor.

Prevention? The best way to prevent cancer is to stay away from smoking tobacco, chewing tobacco, and alcohol. Many cancers can also be prevented by avoiding long periods of sun exposure and not using tanning beds. Cancer screenings should be taken every 2 years. Prevention can also be as easy as checking yourself at home. Always be aware of any new bumps or moles on your body. It will save your life.

Treatment? Chemotherapy is a popular way to treat cancer. Chemotherapy is a treatment where chemicals are used to try to wipe out cancerous cells. This also wipes out a lot of your healthy cells, which can weaken your immune system. Chemotherapy is a rough and strict treatment used when cancer has spread to different areas of the body. Another treatment is radiation. Radiation is a daily treatment that is used to pinpoint the cancer cells and "zap them." Radiation is painless, but it is also very energy draining. Radiation is used mostly for cancer that is in one part of the body. Finally, there is surgery. Surgery is used to remove cancers of the skin and to remove tumors. Surgery is the most hopeful for no return of cancer.

Help? Support anyone who has cancer. There are several ways to help. Your love and prayers are golden. Money to organizations is helpful as well. Cancer is a brutal fight. God bless anyone you know that has cancer, I hope the best for them.

Author's Note: I am here for any advice or support on cancer if you need it. I had a really hard time writing this and keeping my emotions in check. I've lost a few to cancer, and I know I'm not the only one. Happy Holidays and have a great New Year as well. Sources: www.heathline.com


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