I recently lost my husband to cancer of the appendix. If you google "appendix cancer" you'll find lots of amber ribbon products: t-shirts, jewelry, buttons, etc. They even market amber ribbon products for Appendix Cancer Month.
But if you google "when is appendix cancer month?" you won't find an answer. There is no month designated for appendicial cancer. It is such a rare form of cancer, that not only can't you find it's "month", you'll be hard pressed to find places to donate money specifically for research of appendicial cancer.
The PMP Pals Network provides a short list of doctors doing research in appendicial and peritonial cancers to whom you can donate directly, but there is no one organization with a voice loud enough to raise awareness and raise money for research.
Lots of organizations are selling Amber Ribbon products to "raise awareness", but what they are mostly raising are corporate profits. These products might make us feel better, but they do nothing to bring more attention to the disease, educate people about early warning signs, or find more effective treatments and cures.
Brian died because Appendicial Cancer is a bitch. It grows silently without warning signs, and by the time it is detected it is often spread throughout the peritoneal cavity. By the time Brian exhibited any symptoms, the cancer was everywhere. He first showed symptoms on December 28th. By the time he had a diagnosis, on January 8th, it was stage IV terminal cancer.
I don't know how I, as an individual, can make a difference. I desperately want people to be aware of this rare cancer. I desperately want funds designated for research and for education and awareness.
"Appendix cancer usually does not cause symptoms until it is in an advanced stage and has spread to other parts of the body. When symptoms are present, they vary from person to person and may include:
*Acute appendicitis: Most cases of appendix cancer are discovered during surgery for appendicitis
* Increase in abdomen size/girth, bloating
* Vague abdominal discomfort in the lower right abdomen
* Pelvic discomfort
* New hernias
* Bowel obstruction
* Ovarian masses
* Acute or chronic abdominal pain "
Patients may also notice a darkening of the skin under the arms, on the lower abdomen, and in the groin area.
I have been accused of having a big mouth, but even my big mouth is too small for the task at hand. So I'm asking for your help to raise awareness. If we all post the amber ribbon and the warning signs on our blogs and facebook timelines, maybe we can spread information and help to save a life.