In the last several weeks, the world got the news about the British royal family that they’d all guessed, but weren’t 100 percent sure of: The Princess of Wales was diagnosed with cancer. She’s only 42 years old, so of course, this was met with much shock and sadness. Even I felt sad when I read the news. If someone who likely has access to the best food, nutrition, wellness, and healthcare, amongst other resources, can get a cancer diagnosis so young, then the rest of us are definitely screwed. My next thought was: yep, the rest of us… we’re all going to get cancer and die.

As I was checking in with a friend over text tonight about how her recent trip to Japan went with her parents and brother, I was shocked to learn of some health news about her dad: he just got diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called chordoma. Over the last several months, he’d had some lower back pain that kept getting worse. Initially, they just thought it was arthritis, so they had him see a physical therapist, but it didn’t help. He went in for a scan which showed nothing, but they failed to scan the part of the back where he felt the pain, so my friend pushed for an MRI of his lower back… which ended up revealing a malignant mass on his sacrum. Chordoma can occur anywhere along the spine and it’s extremely rare: only 1 in one million people get diagnosed with chordoma per year. He’s scheduled for an appointment later this week to determine the best course for his case, which may be surgery to remove the mass.

This made me so sad. When my friend was in high school, her mom got diagnosed with breast cancer. They all suspected that it might be related to her work, as she was a nail technician at a nail salon (we all know that nail salon workers are at a high risk of getting cancer due to all the fumes they inhale all day long). Luckily, she got chemo and the cancer disappeared. Then, at age 27 while my friend was in medical school, she got diagnosed with a rare lymphoma, and thus medical school got put on hold. Her type of lymphoma was even rarer: only 0.4 people per million per year are diagnosed with it each year. That would mean that in her family of five, 60 percent of her family had experienced cancer. There’s no way this diagnosis could have been easy to hear.

We can only hope for the best since we’re living in a toxic, chemical-laden world. I just hope her dad makes his way out alive in this for their family’s sake.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.