What is cancer? Why does the word cause such fear? Why have a day of recognition for it?


Cancer was named after the crab because the finger-like spreading projections from a cancer called to mind the shape of a crab. The Latin word for crab is cancer.

Galen (130-200 AD)used the term oncos (Greek for swelling) to describe tumors. Oncos is the root word for oncology.

During World War II, those soldiers exposed to mustard gas developed toxic bone marrow suppression. Chemical nitrogen mustard was found to work against a cancer of the lymph nodes called lymphoma. This laid foundation for several new drugs that could be used against cancers.

The later part of the 20th century also saw the development of targeted therapies like Herceptin.


Cancer is viewed as an enemy and the fear is that there is no cure. Physicians use the term remission to describe when there is no evidence of disease for 5 years.

In March of this year, I will celebrate my 5th year and be considered to be in remission. I was first diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2008. It has recurred twice. I’ve had chemotherapy and radiation treatments in addition to two surgeries.

As each of us cancer warriors completes our final round of chemotherapy, we ring a bell. The staff stands around applauding our victory.

Let the bells ring around the world today for all the cancer survivors. 16.9 million cancer survivors are alive in the US today out of a population of 332,915,073. Heart disease was the leading cause of death

Some inspiring words of wisdom :

“Difficult roads can lead to beautiful destinations.”
— Kia Wynn, oral cancer survivor

“There’s always hope beyond what you see.”
— Cora Connor, kidney cancer caregiver

“It’s possible not just to survive, but to thrive and to live a healthy, wonderful life again.”
 Erika Evans, leukemia survivor

“Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.”
— Leslie Medley-Russell, ovarian cancer survivor

In celebrating World Cancer Day, receive a signed copy of my book Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir for just $5.00. Send me a message with your information to (All proceeds go to gynecologic cancer research)

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17 thoughts on “WORLD CANCER DAY

  1. I didn’t realize it was world cancer day. I have lost a father and several other family members to this wretched disease. Yesterday, I lost a co-worker who had put up a valiant battle for four long years.
    I am so thankful for your remission, Karen, and for your inspiration. God bless you!


    1. I am so sorry about the loss of family members and your co-worker. Just since August, I have said “good-bye” to 6 friends who had a gynecolical cancer. One of them was Carol Tucker for whom I wrote the book, Learning about Autism: One Mother’s Journey of Love and Acceptance.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a beautiful day to celebrate, Karen. I don’t know many people that haven’t been affected by cancer. It’s such a scary and awful thing, but you, my friend, are an inspiration with an incredible testimony.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I didn’t know the history behind the word and treatments. Congrats on your remission! Yay!It’s such a hopeful ans inspiring number of survivors in US. Xo

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you, Karen, for the bit of history about cancer and where the words came from. You are a shining example of a survivor and I applaud you! Thank you for sharing and may you remain in “remission!”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had often wondered where the word for cancer had come from. Once I looked it up, the symbol of the crab took on new meaning and understanding. Jan, thank you for your encouraging and kind words.


  5. Thank you, dear Karen. I wasn’t aware that today is World Cancer Day. I’m one year into the five-year wait for the announcement of remission. My daughter-in-law is dealing with round two, multiple surgeries, chemo, etc. So many of us now face the unknown, and survivors like you inspire us on the journey. God Bless You. 💗

    Liked by 1 person

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