January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. According to the National Cancer Institute, last year this terrible disease caused more than 4,000 deaths in the U.S., and nearly 13,000 new cases emerged.
Claiming more than half a million lives per year, cancer is the second-leading cause of death in the United States, right behind heart disease. More people die from some form of cancer than the next three causes (chronic respiratory diseases, stroke and various accidents) combined.
When former University of Illinois engineering student Mallory Casperson was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, she got high-quality medical care. Today, she’s three years cancer-free. She gave credit to her oncologists and others who helped her overcome the disease, while noting that they didn’t provide as much emotional support as she expected. Not that they had to — after all, that’s not their job.
“When cancer touches someone that is a peer, it really changes your perspective,” Kelley Griesmer says.