Another Storm Waiting To Happen
400 women are currently due for their annual mammogram this summer. 400 women are waiting for us call them to confirm an appointment. Those 400 women do not have insurance and are low income. None of them can afford to pay for their screening.
All of them are counting on The Rose to ‘sponsor’ their service at no cost. I hope we can. I hope we will be able to schedule them all. I know that every single one of those 400 women would benefit from their annual screening and in my heart of hearts I also know that any one of them could have a small cancer waiting to be detected early.
Like many non-profits, we walk that tightrope of too many people asking for help and not enough funding. These past 10 months have been especially challenging and we’ve had to allow more funding for diagnostic services, the kind of services a woman will need when she’s found a lump in her breast or there is some other issue going on such as an ultrasound, a physician’s consult and a biopsy. Those services cost a lot more than a screening mammogram, but we can’t let any woman with an issue wait.
I’m not surprised that we’ve seen such an increase in women needing diagnostic services. Natural disasters and personal traumas tend to accentuate all health issues. Even more alarming is the fact that The National Center for PTSD states that almost always, women or girls suffer more negative effects from disasters than do men or boys. There are enough studies and research to show the correlation between the devastating event and the onset of illness. Studies have shown how the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) can actually encourage metastasis when it is chronically activated. Under chronic stress, the SNS is “turned on” virtually all the time ultimately altering the genetic code. This can lead to a number of pro-cancer processes:
- Activation of inflammatory responses
- The inhibiting of immune responses
- Inhibition of programmed cancer cell death
- The reduction in the cytotoxic function of Natural killer cells
- The inhibiting of DNA repair
- Stimulation of cancer cell angiogenesis
- Activation of “epithelial-mesenchymal transition,” which is one of the ways new cancer stem cells are created
Hurricane Harvey did so much more to harm our psyche’s than we’ll probably ever know or be able to measure. The losses last year were horrendous. But the impact on our health is real. Usually the illness appears between 12 – 18 months following a disaster or personal loss. Already there has been such an increase in reported respiratory problems.
Now that Hurricane Season has officially started, there’s no denying that a certain level of anxiety exists. That anxiety spikes whenever it rains, flood watches and warnings blare out over our phones and TV’s or another tropical storm develops into a named hurricane. Anxiety lowers our immune system and we become more susceptible to all sorts of diseases, including cancer.
We know early detection saves lives and we know screening has never been more important than it is today, or more effective. That is why there are 400 reasons that we are beating the bushes looking for more funding. 400 reasons why we’re asking all our supporters to help, to send their donations no matter how small. 400 women are counting on The Rose and I’m counting on our community to help them before another storm appears.