The Dreaded C Word!

breast cancer awareness on teal wooden surface

By Emmy McKirgan

Sitting in an examination room waiting for the doctor to come in and give you the news. You know it can’t be good. They have called you in, this is serious. You think to yourself: I can handle anything – anything but the C-word.

Hearing the diagnosis of cancer can be daunting. It is a death sentence for many. Depending on the type of cancer you have, the odds might not be great.

The Canadian website on cancer statistics says: In 2017, over 200,000 Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer and, 80,000 will die from cancer. During their lifetime, nearly 1 in 2 Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer, and 1 in 4 will die from the disease. Lung, colorectal, breast and prostate cancers account for half of all cancers diagnosed in Canada. “

Canadian Cancer Statistics

Those are some frightful odds. Nearly 1 in 2 Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer, and 1 in 4 will die from the disease. Cancer is the leading cause of death in Canada. I’ve known several people over my lifetime that have had different types of cancers. It has destroyed their lives and their families’ lives forever. The chances of someone going into remission twenty or thirty years ago wasn’t common, especially in third world or low-income populations.

Recently, in the last few years, I had two close friends diagnosed with cancer. A dear friend from Ontario was diagnosed with skin cancer and, within weeks of finding out about it, she had passed away. I felt such sadness and confusion. I had questioned God, “why did You let her die?

She was my age. What would happen to her kids? Her husband? The great memories we shared when our kids were younger flooded in. The grief of lost time and losing touch was heavy on my heart. I tried contacting her right after finding out. I wanted her to know how much I missed her friendship and how often I had thought of her and her family – even if I hadn’t reached out. I hope she knew how deeply she was loved, how she had affected people in her life, what a joy she had been. She was sassy and smart and funny. This was just another case of losing someone due to cancer – cancer sucks!

The other friend here in Alberta also had breast cancer. I remember hearing her diagnosis and being afraid for her. At this point, I had lost all the people diagnosed with cancer who had been close to me. It was rough, especially due to COVID restrictions. She had to go to treatments alone, but she had lots of support and had many treatment options. She beat the odds and is now cancer-free. When I asked her about her experience, she said:

“I honestly don’t know what to say besides the care I received was fantastic, (and) I feel very fortunate to live in a place where a cancer diagnosis didn’t mean I’d be paying for the medical bills the rest of my life.”

Her story had a happy ending, thank God! It was so good to see a good story. And there are more like it- people who have overcome the odds and beat cancer!

“World Cancer Day is an initiative of the Union for International Cancer Control. It was first observed in 2000. Every February 4, advocates around the world unite to raise public awareness of cancer, with long-term goals including improving treatment and survival rates.”

Cancer Health Website

Looking at statistics can be overwhelming and can suck any hope right out of your heart.) Feeling like you can’t do anything? Wondering how you can help to make a difference? Every person can make a lasting change for someone going through this terrible disease. Perhaps it means you can take a loved one to an appointment for chemotherapy or radiation. You can check on them and see what practical needs you can meet. Maybe they need groceries picked up, someone to talk to or need words of encouragement and prayers.

Cancer is not the end! It can be terrifying to get this diagnosis, : but more and more lives are being saved each year. New medical advancements are being made and, people are overcoming this death sentence. Awareness about cancer, treatments and support groups that help you deal with a diagnosis are readily available to all in this Canada. For that, we are very blessed!

Comment below if this story resonates with you. Did you or someone you know go through cancer? How did it impact the lives of those involved? Do you have a memory of someone who passed away that you want to keep alive? Do you have good news about overcoming and beating cancer?

Let’s do our part and support each other, our friends, neighbors, colleagues and the world with love and hope for wiping out cancer for good!

Help end cancer! Donate to one of the great causes. Such as: Canadian Cancer Society, Alberta Cancer Foundation or Fundraiser for Deanna Hertz by Kallie Lloyd : Deanna Hertz Cancer Fight (

What did you think? Do you agree or disagree with the ideas presented above?

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