World Cancer Day

Child with cancer smiling while sitting on hospital bed

Connecting Mental Health And Cancer

World cancer day is about continuing to raise awareness of cancer and to encourage its detection, prevention and treatment. As we can all imagine, cancer is not only devastating to the body, but to the mental health of the patient. Many cancer patients suffer from depression, anxiety and a great fear of death.

World cancer day is also about connecting mental health and cancer. In 2018, there were 17 million new cases of cancer worldwide. The most common types of cancer were: breast, lung, prostate and bowel. This is also 17 million potential new cases of mental health disorders, not including people without cancer.

Many cancer patients experience a very great fear of death, especially the ones who have entered the final stage where no treatments are left to eliminate the cancer. What is exciting is that multiple clinical trials around the United States have demonstrated that psilocybin helps ease the fear, depression and anxiety related to death of terminally-ill cancer patients.

While advancement in medical treatments are constantly progressing, here we have a mushroom that has been around before humans, and that is showing promise to help treat terminally-ill cancer patients! This is very exciting news because any treatment, whether synthetic or natural, should be utilized if it proves to help with the process of suffering.

There have also been cases where marijuana has been used in children with cancer, demonstrating an improved quality of life. We cannot continue to ignore the mental health of our cancer patients. Society has focused for way too long on the medical implications of cancer, often ignoring the patients’ mental health.

We can all probably relate to cancer by knowing someone in our family who has been effected. It is a terrible disease that not only attempts to rob one of their body, but of their sanity as well. When pumped with so much chemotherapy, it sometimes feels like the patient is being drowned in chemicals.

Sometimes all that is needed to help relieve the suffering of cancer patients is more empathy and less sympathy. Everyone can feel bad, but not everyone can relate to another’s emotions and current mental state. If we can become just a little less selfish, even a small difference can prove to be life-saving for our cancer patients.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Health Effects Of Cigarettes

Grayscale photography of young man smoking a cigarette in front of a girl

Smoking A Lot Of Cigarettes Lately

The most addicting drug known to mankind, arguably, is nicotine which is found in cigarettes. Cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. More than 400,000 deaths each year in the United States are attributable to smoking cigarettes.

90% of all lung cancer deaths are due to smoking. More women die from lung cancer than breast cancer. Smoking damages the small airways and alveoli in your lungs, which are responsible for exchanging carbon dioxide and oxygen. Oxygen is breathed in while CO2 is breathed out.

Some lung diseases caused by smoking include lung cancer, chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Chronic bronchitis is caused by the bronchial tubes becoming narrowed, inflamed and secreting a lot of mucus, leading to chronic coughing and difficulty breathing.

Emphysema is caused by the air sacs in the lungs (alveoli) thinning and rupturing, resulting in larger air spaces instead of many small ones. Paradoxically, this makes it more difficult to breath due to less surface area available for gas exchange at the alveoli, resulting in shortness of breath.

Smoking can also damage your heart and brain. Your blood vessels become thicker and narrower, promoting several physiological changes: an increase in blood pressure, an increase in heart rate and clot formation. Clots can form in the blood vessels supplying your heart, restricting blood flow and resulting in coronary heart disease. Small pieces of clots can also break off and travel to the brain and cause a blockage, resulting in a stroke.

Smoking causes many different types of cancer:

  • Oropharyngeal cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Renal cancer

Smoking during pregnancy not only affects the mother but also the baby:

  • Can cause an ectopic pregnancy
  • Can cause a preterm delivery
  • Can cause stillbirth
  • Can cause low birth weight
  • Can cause sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

Smoking also causes:

  • Damage to your teeth and gums
  • Weaker bones (especially in women past childbearing age)
  • Reduced fertility in men by damaging sperm
  • An increased risk for developing eye damage (cataracts and age-related macular degeneration)
  • Diabetes mellitus type II
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • A decreased immune function, increasing your vulnerability to bacterial and viral infections

And lastly, smoking is very psychologically addicting. So why consume this legal substance that kills your body and imprisons your mind? It is not even worth it to try it once. You have no idea how your mind will react to it; you may never try it again or find yourself in a deadly, passionate love affair!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)