Why You Should Be Raising Awareness of Kidney Cancer


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Why You Should Be Raising Awareness of Kidney Cancer

Raising Kidney Cancer Awareness

Your awareness of problems, issues, and situations is significantly affected by your own experiences and struggles.

If you know people with mental health concerns, your awareness will likely grow as you speak with them about their unique experiences. You may even do some research to gain education on the common perceptions. If you know someone who is blind, you might repeat the same process.

By gaining awareness of the issue, you gain insight into the person you care about and their life.

For you, your problem is not mental health or blindness — it’s a kidney cancer diagnosis. Whether you are fresh from your diagnosis or you have been dealing with the condition for some time, additional awareness is useful.

Awareness is not only helpful to you, though. The people in your life and the community you live in would benefit from increased awareness. When it comes to physical or mental health conditions, you can never have too much awareness.

Why Gain Awareness

Unfortunately, some people may disagree. They may think telling others about their condition or working to raise awareness is not worth the energy. They may come to conclusions like:

  • My life is my business.
  • I have enough to worry about.
  • I need to focus on myself.
  • My condition might make others uncomfortable.
  • I don’t want others to judge me.
  • I will leave the awareness up to other people.

These thoughts are common when someone is faced with a major medical diagnosis. When under stress, your decision-making skills decrease. Good ideas do not seem appropriate, and bad decisions seem perfectly acceptable.

Even if you cannot see it, raising awareness of your condition is a wonderful notion. Increased awareness:

  • Helps you better understand your situation from a medical standpoint. With this knowledge, you can become a more active, involved member of your treatment team. You can ask your doctors pointed questions to aid your treatment plan and recovery.
  • Helps you better understand your situation from a psychological standpoint. Dealing with cancer will impact the way you think, the way you feel, and the way you behave. Without awareness, you might inaccurately attribute these changes to another factor — awareness will make sure you target the real problem and act efficiently to resolve it.
  • Helps you better move through the grief and loss process. No matter your prognosis, kidney cancer is a loss — it represents a loss of your health, independence, and overall wellbeing. Becoming aware of this fact allows you to recognize the areas of your life changed by grief and helps you move from the shock of diagnosis to the comfort of acceptance more quickly.
  • Helps others better understand your situation from a physical and mental health standpoint. When people lack information, they ignorantly proceed based on their perceptions of the situation. By increasing their awareness, you help them acknowledge your situation and improve their responses to you.

Making the conscious decision to improve awareness might seem like the difficult choice, but in reality, it is the only choice. Refusing to do so ends with increased stress and decreased satisfaction in life.

How to Raise Awareness

Now that you see the benefits and are committed to raising awareness, you are left with one question: Where do you start?

Start With the Doctor

Before you can raise others’ awareness about kidney cancer, you must raise your own. The first step of this process is to seek out great information from your doctors.

Your treatment team deals with the impacts of cancer on a daily basis, so they are the best sources of information regarding your condition. Ask questions based on your condition while discussing the situations in which others find themselves.

Take notes, and ask follow-up questions to ensure the information is retained since the stressful setting of an appointment might affect your memory.

Find the Best Sites

Talking to doctors will raise awareness, but it is only the first step. The second step is done by amassing more information from other sources.

It is true that you cannot believe everything you read online, but there are still tremendous amounts of amazing material on endless topics, kidney cancer included.

For information of the highest quality, utilize sites that are backed by a government or educational source. These will be based on facts and empirical research.

For now, avoid information from blogs, personal websites, or social media. This may be highly biased and hinder your attempts at awareness.

Spread the Word

Armed with the information needed, you can now go out and spread the word to your friends, acquaintances, coworkers, and the community around you. Perhaps the simplest way to do this is through honesty.

When someone asks you how you are doing, tell them. Give them your genuine perspective with some factual information added. You do not have to provide an hour-long lecture complete with audio-visual materials — you just have to be authentic.

If you are feeling more ambitious, you could create a reliable social media account or community awareness events to disseminate your information in fun and creative ways.

Raising awareness is not a simple task, but it is the task that will benefit you, those around you, and those who come after you. When you raise awareness you begin to advocate for yourself and your condition against those with misconceptions.

As long as your start small and keep you other priorities in balance, raising awareness is a fantastic use of your resources.

Eric PattersonEric Patterson

Eric Patterson, LPC is a professional counselor in western Pennsylvania working for the last 10 years to help children, teens and adults achieve their goals and live happier lives. Read more about Eric and his writing at www.ericlpattersonwriting.com.

Oct 3, 2016
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