CANCER AND HOW IT AFFECTS A FAMILY
For those who don't know, cancer is cause from a tumor, which in turn is cause from a mutation in a cell gone wrong. There are only three things that can be done once a tumor has become malignant, first is medication to slow the mutations down, second is surgery to cut the tumors out, and third is radiation to kill the cancer cells.
How it began...
My father passed away August 10th, 2006 from Kidney Cancer. At the time I did not understand why my father had cancer in the first place, he ate healthy, worked hard, slept sufficient hours, he was active. He worked as a groundskeeper for many years. It was October 2005, I was a sophomore at the time, he was diagnosed. I had no firm biology background so when I found this out, I figured maybe it was the chemicals he used that caused it. It hurt me to see that he cried thinking he was useless now because he would bring in most of the income, he would do most of everything, now he could not do anything except sleep and stay home. The fact that he could not work any more weakened his morality. Ever since he was young he would work and work. After he got laid off because of his condition, my mother, sister and I had to take on more roles to accommodate for my father. My mother worked hard to get a raise, my sister and I could not go to after school activities because we needed to take care of my father. There was a month my mom used a lot of her sick hours for because my day spent most of his time in the hospital. From June to August my father couldn't come home anymore and had to stay because of his back and abdominal pain. I remember my dad crying feeling worthless and how he had failed us. I reassured him that he did not fail us as a matter of fact brought this family closer then it has ever been. I loved him and told him i couldn't have asked for a better dad. After his initial operation the cancer in his kidneys spread and more quickly as well. The doctor said it was a violent and malignant cancer and that there was little that could be done. (The picture on the left is " Identification of tumour marker in kidney cancer using microdissected tissue" from the website http://www.biochem.mpg.de/lottspeich/projects/kidney_cancer/index.html )
What I remember as well, is going to school in the morning and when school was over I would head straight to the hospital to be with my dad. I would stay until visiting time was over then go home and do homework. That was my routine for a while until summer school was over. I think it my father would have had yearly check ups, maybe he could have caught the signs early on and maybe prevent the spread of cancer throughout his body. But now that I have gone through this Biology class, I've come to realize, cancer is just a tumor in its advanced form. The only way a tumor can occur is through mutation. The thing about it though is that mutation is so unpredictable, and so random, it cant be seen right away. I don't know very much about kidney cancer itself, but I do know from Biology that I have a greater chance of it mutating in me then someone else, because my genes are similar to my mom and dad which means I could have the gene that could mutate. Cancer itself is unpredictable. All we can do is have a healthy lifestyle and be proactive in doing annual check ups if not more.