I like Jay Lake. He's one of the nicest people I know who's working in science fiction these days, and I'm lucky that I've gotten the chance to hang out with him at cons, since he's friends with one of my good friends, Ken Scholes (soon to be the next big thing at Tor).
And Jay is currently sick with colon cancer, and kindly offers up this public service announcement. Please get checked. It can save your life.
And if you think cancer can't affect you, let me throw some personal things your way.
My mother was diagnosed with cervical cancer when she was 39. She was then diagnosed with thyroid cancer when she was 47. Early diagnosis and surgery saved her life both times. My mother's best friend died of breast cancer and a brain tumor when she was 40.
Chris' mother was diagnosed with melanoma last year. Treatment at Sloan-Kettering and a lot of lymph node removal has probably saved her life, although she'll always have to go for checkups.
My maternal grandfather continually gets cancerous lesions on his face, due to overexposure to the sun as a child and in the Navy during WWII. Without constant vigilance, screening, and surgery, he could die too.
And these are just three people in my immediate life. If you think about it, you've probably got three people you know who've had cancer. And three more people that those three people know. It's one of the biggest killers in America, but early screening and vigilance can help cut the death rate.
And if nothing else, please remember Randy Pausch. He's still living and fighting his pancreatic cancer, and is truly one of the most incredible stories out there right now. (I'll put in the disclaimer that I'm pretty sure he's still alive, as I haven't heard anything differently. I check once a week or so.)