“It’s back to the future” (said Marty). Knowing where you began is pretty much always a good way to look forward.
So, how did I get this cancer? Well as I already said, it is a stomach or gastric cancer. This one of more than 200 types of cancer (http://www.cancerresearchuk.org, Accessed 24 November 2015), is actually on the decline in the UK (“Stomach cancer cases almost halve over the last 30 years”, 2009).
Considering the recent research (International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), Accesssed 24 November 2015), associating increased consumption of processed meats and red meat (Bacon, sausage, beef/hamburgers and beef etc) maybe this is a surprise to you; it was to me.
But then, stomach cancer rates are falling.! It all seems a little contradictory to me!
One reason for this actual decline may be the use of antibiotics in the young. It’s possible that antibiotic use in toddlerhood and childhood is also reducing the levels of a key bacterium in the stomach, Helicobacter pylori, known to be associated with an increased risk of gastric cancer. (Ford, AC, et. al., (2015). “Helicobacter pylori eradication for the prevention of gastric neoplasia”, Wiley Online Library, Accessed 24, November, 2015). I had that, I had that; I did!! And, I was treated for it! More later …..
Isn’t hindsight a wonderful thing? 20-20, as they say. Glancing back now to the start of 2015, I can see perfectly clearly what has been happening to me, cumulatively, for nearly nine months.
Christmas and New Year are great – rest, family and friends getting together. What more is there? Well, there’s the overeating? (Yes, but what have the Romans ever done for us?) Well, there’s the sherry for Santa and carrots for his reindeer? (Yes, but what have the Romans ever done for us?) Well, yes then there’s the ginormous Christmas dinner, preceded by Sherry for real people, white wine, red wine, probably a beer or two, Christmas pudding followed by mince pies, topped off with brandy, rum or whisky (depending upon your tipple) or all three of course – and then after only three hours, the same again in albeit marginally smaller portions. (Yes, but what have the Romans ever done for us?) Well, they bumped off Christ more than 2000 years ago and yet we still celebrate, to excess. (Yes, but what have the Romans ever done for us?).
That was it. I had developed a belly-ache that persisted for nearly two weeks after Christmas. Perhaps this wasn’t my usual over-indulgence, maybe there was something wrong with me? My typical alpha- male characteristics helped me ignore this and other warning signs, I suspect. But there you are, I’m sure now this was an indication that my gastric cancer was there, or about to be, or at least could be?
Let this also be warning to all of us, early diagnosis is crucial in the prevention and potential cure for cancer. The National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative (NAEDI), (http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/early-diagnosis-activities/national-awareness-and-early-diagnosis-initiative-naedi. Accessed 24, November 2015).The government advert showing a growing tumour in the middle of a foot path, being avoided by pedestrians, pram-pusher etc is a great metaphor for what can happen to most of us cancer patients.
We ignore things perhaps? We fear the actual confirmed diagnosis, perhaps? We are too busy to visit a GP, perhaps? Who knows? I have digressed a little here, I was going to tell you about my actual cancer type, so I’ll pause, take a deep breath and move on again, tomorrow …..
By the way, to all of you who have now discovered my blog, I have read some heart-warming feelings of support and affection, thanks.