Know a lot about cancer? Want to make it easier for everyone here to help others?
Question by Z: Know a lot about cancer? Want to make it easier for everyone here to help others?
As a response to thinkingtime’s excellent question ( http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=Ah50S6XDRCqlb.x67s_kQtXty6IX;_ylv=3?qid=20110702140617AA4zt7l ) a few of us “frequent fliers” in the Cancer section at YA have come together to try and work together to spread information more effectively.
We all have been largely working as individuals repeating the same things over and over again to different teenagers: from reassuring them that they don’t have breast cancer, to explaining why they’ve got lumps and bumps all up in there, to telling them what the signs they do need to see a doctor are.
While that’s great, working as individuals we’re each working harder and getting less of an audience than we could if we were working together. Many of us have “been there” in answering a string of the same “Do I Have Breast Cancer” questions posed by different teenagers in a row: sometimes you customize the question to their concerns, sometimes you just copy and paste the one you gave someone else three minutes ago. Rarely do you have the time to cite sources or link to useful websites: not that very many of them, if any, exist.
And so an idea was born: we have the information, we have the fact-finding skills, we have the enthusiasm for educating people (especially teenagers) about their bodies and what’s normal- and what isn’t.
We can compile our own “Anti Breast Cancer Awareness” site! With our collective minds, we can create an age-appropriate resource that gets real about cancer and teenagers (especially breast cancer), that gives teenagers the facts about BC and other cancers, and educates them about what’s normal for their bodies and what isn’t. Not only would it lessen our workload when continually answering these questions, it could also be a way for us to spread information BEFORE these girls come to YA panicking, and to allow them to link our information to people they know, too.
Too many resources are out there with vague “awareness” as their goal: we can step right over awareness and work on real, useful and applicable information and fostering genuine understanding especially among teenagers. We don’t need more teens to be aware that certain types of cancers exist, but a LOT of teens need us to tell them how their bodies should and shouldn’t work, what’s abnormal and what isn’t.
Every day, multiple times a day, we see the product of teens subject to BC walks and BC fundraisers and “touch your boobies” campaigns. Rarely do we see teenagers who someone has -told- that breast cancer is incredibly unlikely to occur in their bodies. Rarely are they exposed to the fact that the average breast cancer survivor is 61 years old when they’re diagnosed, or that lumps and bumps in growing breasts are perfectly normal. Breast cancer is everywhere for these girls, and so is information telling them to be prematurely scared of it.
FEAR and misinformation are the diseases which impact so many of the youth we answer the questions of here. Many live with anxiety, experience needless doctor visits, or worst of all needless testing- because they simply don’t know better.
I, for one, am sick and tired of it. I want to see what we can do TOGETHER to get teens aware of their bodies and what is- and isn’t- normal in a non-judgmental manner.
I think we as a group are SO much more equipped than many children’s and teenagers health sites to create such a resource. Many of us have literally answered hundreds or thousands of these questions: we know these teens. We know their fears. We’re not afraid to give them real, straight answers: even when they’re not the ones some of the “official” resources are out recommending. And, most importantly, most of us have been there: we are cancer survivors, caregivers, and medical professionals.
This long-winded post is a request: if you’re enthusiastic about changing what teens know about their bodies, if you’re totally into calming fears and killing misinformation, if you have the resources or the fact-finding skills or the personal experience to talk about cancer (and the many times teenagers DON’T have it), join in.
Contact me through my profile, spread the word to people you know who might help. This is a new-born idea and we don’t want it to die before it launches, so if you think you can play any part in this please DO!
We all already work to make a difference in people’s lives, it is time we started doing it even better. It is time we started being ANTI-AWARENESS and PRO-REAL-INFORMATION.
Answer by JLI
Great initiative. Of course I’ll contribute anyway I can
What do you think? Answer below!