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Old 01-08-2017, 11:25 AM   #1
Ronnie51
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Depressing thread....does cancer run in your family?

My father died from colon cancer at age 72, my Mother had stomach and kidney cancer 5-1/2 years ago and is cancer free now at age 88 (after surgery, chemo and radiation), my Mother's brother had bladder cancer 16 years ago and is doing fine now at age 85. I always knew I was at risk, especially for digestive cancers due to my Mother and father both having it. Then last year my fraternal twin sister had a pre cancerous polyp removed from her colon; I had a colonoscopy a year before she did with no polyps, but my doctor now says not to wait the full five years for my next colonoscopy. Then in October my 68-year old brother was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He was scheduled to have a prostatectomy at Sloan Kettering on Jan. 10th, but the pre-op MRI showed a growth on his bladder, so they're addressing that first (my brother doesn't discuss these things with me but based on what I heard from my Mother, the thought is that it is malignant). I'm terribly afraid for my brother and part of me is afraid for my sister and myself as well. I know that if siblings have cancer, your risk is higher. I'm not sure how to deal with all of this. I see my doctor regularly but the fear that I will get cancer is getting stronger everyday and now that I'm stressing big time over my brother, I'm not sure if I can handle it. I'm trying to hide my fears for him and for me and my sister from my sister who tends to bury her head in the sand, and from my Mother who, at age 88 and a cancer survivor, doesn't need to hear about my fears. Anyone out there in a similar situation...how do you deal with it?
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Old 01-09-2017, 12:02 PM   #2
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My family members have died from uterine, breast and pancreatic. Since none are connected I don't think there's a genetic component.

Jimmy Carter's family members died from pancreatic cancer...all of them. You have to wonder.
Probably exposed to the same things whether dietary or chemical.
His wife is a dietician so she probably keep macronutrients balanced and puts the brakes on overeating....and heavy beer drinking (Billy).

Since cancers of all sorts are epidemic, it's probably not genetic, although, damaged genes may be passed on....which changes the ball game.

I think all we can do it try to clean up our diets and surroundings of items that induce illness; chemicals, foods, etc.
Maybe we don't really need the perfect lawn and the cleanest laundry!

I do fear it but usually don't obsess about it since I need to be enjoying my life.
I'm sure if I ever get a migraine it's sure to be GBM.
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Old 01-09-2017, 12:11 PM   #3
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My doctor's father died from pancreatic, cancer and now his older sister has it (inoperable, but she's doing okay on a clinical trial...I think it's been over a year since diagnosed). My doctor gets checked every few months to be sure he has no signs of it. As you mentioned, I do fear it but try not to obsess over it. It's just that with my brother now being sick, it's front and center and hard not to think about. I appreciate your response. I had to look up "GBM".....sounds like me when I get unexplained pain anywhere in my body.
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Old 01-09-2017, 12:24 PM   #4
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GBM took my 54 yr old brother, scares the heck out of me anytime I feel any thing that is off. They say it is not hereditary but some families in a support group I belong to would beg to differ. Breast, multiple myeloma and another brain cancer took other family members as well. The scary part for me is they were all in their 50's, except and elderly aunt who had brain cancer.
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Old 01-09-2017, 12:27 PM   #5
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I apologize to you for this very depressing thread that I started! I guess all we can do is live the healthiest lifestyle we can and hope for the best. I started the thread after hearing about my brother's stall in his treatment and it was a knee jerk reaction. Sorry, everyone.

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Old 01-09-2017, 02:25 PM   #6
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Stressing over this will just make everything worse. Of course, there are genetic connections between diseases (that's why a new doctor will always ask what your parents died of or siblings, etc.), but there's nothing we can do except to lead as healthy a life as we can and take whatever preventive measures are available.

Colonoscopy is a good example. When I had my first one, I had no polyps, but on subsequent ones, my doctor has removed one or two. And I have the procedure every 4 years now. Removing the polyps keeps them from becoming cancerous, and regular colonscopies allow the doctor to check the entire system. For example, on my last one, my gastro told me that he removed tissue where he observed some 'thickening.' It was tested and was benign.

The good thing about being hypothyroid, is that I get a full blood panel every 4 months, so if there's something 'off,' in my system, I suspect my labs values would show some problem.

IMO, there's no sense in stressing about things that may never happen and/or that we have no real control over.
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Old 01-09-2017, 02:33 PM   #7
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Leo, you and my DH think alike! I worry about everything plus I always imagine the worst scenario. When I told my husband that my blood type is A positive, he said it should be B negative. Excellent advice from you....I am trying. It's just that we're currently in a scary situation with my brother's health and it's been difficult. Luckily I have an optimistic spouse.
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Old 01-09-2017, 03:01 PM   #8
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Ronnie, no apology needed and in fact it's an important conversation.

Problem with some cancers, like pancreatic, is that the only way to visualize it is with CT. Ultrasound shows a little but other organs are in the way.
By the time bloodwork shows anything it has progressed and that is what ruins the option of surgery....usually that's because there's mets to another organ or in the lympatic system.

That is the reason that I am a bit worried about pancreatic; my mom seemed like a healthy 75 year old, walking daily, swimming 4x weekly, and volunteer work.
Found a swollen lymph node. Her hippie doc tested then said the node implies something in the gut.....
My mom has IBS type stuff and a very sensitive gut for....as long as I can remember.

Well, I've been growing an ovarian cyst for about 4 years and now it's pretty big so has to go. I am so concerned about it and having been a hospice RN really doesn't help any.

Oh, my first husband died from GBM about 5 years ago.
Interesting thing; he started getting really frustrated about projects he was working on. Went to an Amish healer (nearby Amish community) and the guy examined his eyes and said, 'there is something big in there and you need to find out what it is'.
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Old 01-09-2017, 03:21 PM   #9
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Jem, you've dealt with a lot; best of luck with the removal of the ovary and cyst. We never know what life has in store for us, and as Leo said, stressing over these things just makes matters worse. Unfortunately, that seems to be my nature. I've often read that positive thinking brings about positive results. I'm working on it.
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