Everyone knows what a Pink Ribbon stands for and what a great program to highlight Breast Cancer it has become! The military community loves our Yellow Support Our Troops Ribbon as well. Did you know there is another yellow ribbon? This month is another awareness month which is so much smaller but has a large impact on the lives of those it affects.
The second yellow ribbon is for Sarcoma Cancer Awareness and you might not have heard of it because it affects less than 1% of adult cancer patients. But if you have heard of it, it is likely that it had a large impact on someone that you care a lot about. Sarcoma affects bones and soft tissues such as muscle, fat, nerves, cartilage and blood vessels. Most sarcomas occur in the human limbs – legs and arms but can be found anywhere in the body.
July is Sarcoma Awareness Month and as with all cancers, the more we learn about it, the better care patients can receive from the medical community. The Pink Ribbon has saved many lives through awareness and cancer research dollars for breast cancer. These programs were too late for my wonderful mom who died at a very early age but saved my fantastic military spouse who also developed breast cancer. Sarcoma, according to the America Cancer Society estimates, will be diagnosed in 11,280 new patients in 2012 and 3,900 patients will die of this cancer. Not a very good prognosis for sure! Compared to breast cancer for example, the estimates from ACS are that almost 300,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year and 39,000 will die from this disease (see below for references).
Almost two years ago I was diagnosed with sarcoma so my learning curve went up steeply! I have been blessed with great physicians, surgeons and a caregiver extraordinaire! My original prognosis included possible amputation of my leg and this warrior was not exactly pleased by this turn of events. But a sarcoma center at the University of Michigan saved my leg and I am able to walk, garden and horse around with the grandchildren again because of the research and efforts of earlier pioneers in this disease. Thank you does not seem like enough so I am helping by spreading the word about Sarcoma Awareness Month.
Want to learn more? Have a friend or family member being challenged by this disease? One organization and website that I found helpful was the Liddy Shriver Sarcoma Initiative. There are other resources but they are a great getting started on your research website. Remember those who have suffered from this disease when you see a yellow ribbon and yes support our troops too!
Col K has written several articles about caregiving, being in treatment and being a cancer survivor and some humorous times as well for the MilitaryAvenue community.
American Cancer Society Statistics: