When I was a kid, I was addicted to Charlie's Angels. They were private investigators who were smart, beautiful crime fighters and didn't take smack from anyone!
Everyone had their favorite Angel. Mine was Kris Monroe - played by the still drop dead gorgeous Cheryl Ladd. The character of Kris Monroe came in to replace the character of Jill Monroe - played by Farrah Fawcett. Fawcett only played her for the first season - contract negotiations, Hollywood politics and movie offers were blamed on her short tenure on the highly successful show.
But Fawcett caused a world wide stir, even with that one short year of being an Angel. She went on to make some great movies, including the highly acclaimed The Burning Bed, as well as Small Sacrifices. Her love life also became tabloid fodder.
But 2006 saw her fortunes change for the worst when she was diagnosed with anal cancer - a rare cancer with fewer than 5,000 cases diagnosed every year (women are slightly more susceptible than men)and fewer than 1,000 people die every year from this kind of cancer.
But doctors believe that anal cancer is on the rise.
The precise cause of this cancer is not yet known but it is widely believed to be linked with the HPV virus - a very common virus that is also known to cause the majority of cervical cancers.
Anal cancer can remain symptomless or can show up in the form of
-changes in bowel movements
An annual rectal exam should be performed to look for these signs.
Treatment for anal cancer is similar to treatment for other cancers, includes chemotherapy (something Fawcett had), radiation and surgery (for tumor removal). Recovery statistics are good - a five year survival rate for over 80% of sufferers - but like all cancers - early detection is key.
Doctors believe that the prevalence of HPV is causing the numbers of anal cancer to rise (only a very small amount of people with HPV will get anal cancer) but they also believe a stigma is attached, simply due to the location of the cancer. Just like colon cancer wasn't talked about much up until the last decade, anal cancer is currently something that people avoid discussing with their doctors. Experts say there is also a social stigma due to the subjects of anal sex and sexually transmitted viruses.
But this is a cancer on the rise, and needs to be looked upon like any other cancer. Yearly exams are important, especially for people over 50 and any kinds of symptoms need to be reported to a doctor. Doctors also hope that the HPV vaccines will help to eliminate anal cancer as well as cervical cancers.
Farrah Fawcett's cancer has spread to her liver and she is currently at home, having undergone alternative treatments in Germany. Many believe her prognosis is bad - but we can hope that further treatments will work and she makes a full recovery. She has also made a documentary about her fight, which can only shed more light on this little talked about, but growing cancer.
For more on anal cancer, please click on Empowher's Enclycopedia here : http://www.empowher.com/media/reference/anal-cancer
Are you familiar with this kind of cancer? Or it's link with HPV? Have you or someone you know been affected?
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