Jenny Rae Rappaport
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.)
9 Responses
  1. Amie Stuart Says:

    You're so right! (and I've been reading Jay's blog :) )I'm nearing 40 and I got sick last year (real sick) and the one thing that really got driven home was you've only got one body and you've got to take care of it.

    My grandfather died of cancer (of course this was 20 years ago and it was very hush hush), and I think a grandmother had breast cancer. Luckily they're not biological relatives...unluckily (i know that's not really a word I think--it's early), I have very little medical history because I'm adopted.


  2. Anne Glamore Says:

    It's the time of year for ovarian cancer awareness also. Symptoms can mimic those of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, among other things-- they're very non-specific which is why they call ovarian cancer "the disease that whispers."

    My mom died of it 2 years ago and there's plenty of info on my site about it.


  3. David Says:

    Avoid the sun, and don't smoke.

    The other kinds of cancer are trickier. Healthy women (like my wife) get breast cancer, and healthy men get prostate cancer. But lung cancer and skin cancer are mostly preventable.


  4. Pete Says:

    His novel, "Mainspring" was one of those books the idea of which just boggled the mind for a bit. Terrific book, terrific writer, and has he got HAIR...

    I'm glad he's a cancer "survivor" and not a "victim." And I'm sort of glad I didn't hear about this until the happy ending was already there.

    (I am gabbling about Jay Lake, because I thought about it and realized I really don't know anyone with any cancer scares, and so I feel shamefully lucky and a bit hesitant to speak on the matter...)


  5. I'm glad Jay's situation is being dealt with. Pre-screening is the way to go. Catching things early is *so* much better.

    I've heard from life extension experts that cancer is the thing which will get anyone, if you just live long enough. No one is invulernable.

    (I think I may be the only person in the world who thinks Randy Pausch is kind of a jerk, but well, there it is. I still wish him and his family the best.)


  6. Sadie Says:

    I'm with Jay. My grandfather had colon cancer, and because the symptoms don't show up at ALL until it's too late, it usually results in a very poor prognosis. My grandfather passed away within a year. My whole family now gets checked every few years (I will begin getting checked this year). It's not FUN getting checked, but it's essential to life!!

    Thanks for posting this!


  7. Brittany Says:

    Word.

    Everyone has been touched by this at some point in there lives, and wouldn't it be nice to have our children never have to.


  8. joycemocha Says:

    Yeah. In a weird bit of universal synchronity, Kaiser called me to set up my colonoscopy.

    My brother has been nagging me, as both he and my middle brother have had polyps removed, as did our father during regular colonoscopies. Apparently besides our paternal grandfather, our paternal great-grandfather and great-great grandfathers died of colon cancer--at about the age that my father and brothers had polyps removed. Age 57.

    I'm kinda hoping I take genetically after my mother's side. Although cancer carried her away at age 69, her aunties and mother died in their 90s. Mom died way too young.


  9. Ryan Field Says:

    Preventative care is very important.