Friday, 21 October 2011

7 days 21 hours and 52 minutes to go!

What happened?? This cycle was AGES away…now it's next week! I don't feel ready at all, and yet I feel I can't wait to get there and get to it. I am going with a great bunch of women – they really are something. So we will support one another, and of course, it's always easier to achieve something as a team than it is to do it alone. That's the theory anyway!
cycle kenya 005

I HAVE trained. The FH has been a Godsend, in that he has been forcing me out, and because he's faster [grr!] I am always pushed to keep up with my short little legs. He gets little breaks to drink water and rest while he waits for me to huff and puff my way to wherever he is. I get to try [and fail mostly] to guzzle water and speak [complain] whilst not being able to breathe…then off we go again.

To be honest, I am astounded at myself. I am NOT a person who has ever done charity stuff. And I am certainly not a person who has ever been sporty.  I think the most extreme sport I ever did was ice hockey – and it seemed easy because I was on skates! A bike is a totally different thing – one has to actually put a 'whole body' effort in…but I'm doing it. And enjoying it.

Recently, we  [the cycle group] have been wondering precisely how much of the money we've raised actually goes to the three charities we are supporting. Obviously the Action for Charity peeps have to make something, so we are interested in what is left after they take their cut.

I was interested [and shocked] to read the way that Cancer Research UK use THEIR funds for research. See below – ovarian cancer, which has the WORST survival rate in the UK [compared to the rest of Europe] seems very low on the scale. 

So – now we know why we have the worst survival rate!!

Ovarian cancer is the second leading cancer in women (affecting about 1/70) and the leading cause of death from gynaecological cancer, and the deadliest (1% of all women die of it). It is the 5th leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women, causing an estimated 15,000 deaths in 2008. Incidence is higher in developed countries.

Here is what Cancer Research UK say [and - where does the other 20 pence in a pound go??]:

"For every £1 donated, 80 pence is available to spend on our work to beat cancer. We receive no government funding for our research.

"We spent £332 million on our annual research activity in 2010/11. In almost every type of cancer, we fund more research than any other organisation in the UK.

We need to make sure nothing slows down the tremendous progress we’re making. Whilst we make the best use of every pound we raise, each year we receive a growing number of outstanding research proposals that we cannot afford to fund."

WebThis image is from Cancer Research UK. They are patently quite pleased with themselves. I am just confused – why not have an even distribution of funds?

WHY is the funding for Ovarian cancer research A QUARTER of the amount spent on Breast Cancer research?? Ovarian cancer is the second most common gynaecologic cancer and the deadliest in terms of absolute figure. It's insane – any research into ovarian cancer benefits breast cancer research. The reverse is not true.

Ovarian cancer is the second most common cancer in women - around 6,500 cases are diagnosed annually in the UK. Around one woman in 70 in the general population is at risk of developing ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer often develops without any clear symptoms and many women only discover they have it once it has spread. Surely this warrants the self same amount of funding as breast cancer?

And here's a peculiar factoid I discovered on Wiki:

"A Swedish study, which followed more than 61,000 women for 13 years, has found a significant link between milk consumption and ovarian cancer. According to the BBC, "[Researchers] found that milk had the strongest link with ovarian cancer—those women who drank two or more glasses a day were at double the risk of those who did not consume it at all, or only in small amounts."

Recent studies have shown that women in sunnier countries have a lower rate of ovarian cancer, which may have some kind of connection with exposure to Vitamin D.[27]

And another [rather horrible] thing I discovered on Wiki is this: Grade 3 tumours have the worst prognosis and their cells are abnormal, referred to as poorly differentiated. There are four grades indicating the likelihood of the cancer to spread and the higher the grade, the more likely for this to occur.

Oooo shit! 'Occur'. HATE that word. Although 'reoccur' is worse…I didn't realise that I have the 'worst prognosis'!! Ovarian cancer, as  any other type of cancer, is graded, as well as staged. I had a Grade 3B [IIIB - macroscopic peritoneal metastases beyond pelvis less than 2cm in size] tumour. The tumour was bigger than my womb! [revolting factoid for your horror] the metastases was in the peritoneum. And other bits. Deleted.

Here's a world map – of ovarian cancer death rates. Nice huh? NOT

2000px-Ovary_cancer_world_map_-_Death_-_WHO2004_svgEnglish: Age-standardised death rates from Ovarian cancer by country (per 100,000 inhabitants). rates

No wonder we're all trying to raise money for research! It's critical!

So all you women complaining about sore arms from inoculations and sore butts from cycling…worrying about whether we need mosquito nets and hair tongs…think about how bad it is for women who have sore arms from having an 8 hour dose of chemo…once every few weeks until there ARE no more veins to push the needle into. And no hair to use those Ever So Important hair tongs ON.
Be proud of yourselves for what you're doing – SO many women will benefit. And, God forbid, it could be you who benefits one sort of makes the sore arm less painful doesn't it?

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