Dealing with Teen Cancer
By Karalynn, age 15, Washington
If you ask any teen what are some of the biggest problems they face you would likely get answers involving boyfriends, parents, friends, or school. But for many teens at WHS, their answer would be coping with their friend having cancer.
Being a teenager can be great. You get to look forward to great parties, hang out with your friends all the time, learn how to drive, and build relationships with people. It's awesome being young, and it seems like we have the entire world laid before our feet. We never think that something bad can happen to us. Cancer? That's just for old people, we think. But it's not. Each year thousands of teens are diagnosed with various types of cancer. It's a devastating truth we all must face.
Dealing with this illness has been especially hard for the students at my school, WHS. Over the past few years, two teens from our school have been diagnosed with cancer. One student, Kevin*, was diagnosed in 2000. Kevin was the type of kid who seemed like he had it all. He was in a band, had good grades, and was on the drama team. He was loved by many people. He went through years of chemo and surgeries before he died on August 5, 2006. It was a hard loss for our town to bear.
Another teen from WHS, Isaac*, was diagnosed with terminal cancer just this year. Terminal cancer means that there is little hope for recovery; it's deadly. He is a junior in high school and has outstanding grades. He accepts his cancer and is still leading a happy life, keeping his friends and his family close.
It's very sad for anyone, especially a teen, to hear about someone close to them getting cancer or to be diagnosed with cancer themselves. It can happen to anyone, so everyone needs to protect himself or herself from something that may be avoidable. Remember that not all cancers are from mistakes people make. Sometimes it just happens. But if you want to raise your chances to prevent yourself or someone you love from getting cancer, try to avoid these: **
Staying Out in the SunIt's ok, and even fun to be outside, but be sure to wear sunscreen every time, even on a cloudy day. Wearing a hat can also help. Believe it or not, you can still get sunburned on a cloudy day from the UV rays that get through the clouds. Sunburns can increase your risk of skin cancer. And be sure to keep your eye out for irregular moles, as those can also be a sign of skin cancer.
SmokingWe all know that smoking is bad for you and can greatly increase your risk of many cancers, including lung cancer. It is also very addicting, so don't even try it.
An Unbalanced DietFruits, vegetables, and whole wheat are all very good for you and provide vitamins and other nutrients to keep you healthy. Food with good nutrients can add disease-free years to your life!
Chewing TobaccoNot only is chewing tobacco gross, but also it is also very bad for you. Numerous cancers can be obtained from chewing tobacco such as tongue, mouth, and lip cancer.
* Name changed for privacy
** Please take these facts and ideas seriously. To get more information, contact your school nurse or your doctor.