There's a good chance you know someone who's been affected by cancer. In fact, The Cancer Advocacy Coalition of Canada notes that 45% of men and 40% of women will develop cancer in their lifetime.
For anyone who's been diagnosed, it can be a physical and emotional rollercoaster ride. Not just for them, but for their family too.
Trouble is, a lot of us don't think it will happen to us. So, we don't know how to check for cancer, or do a self-exam. And if we are diagnosed, or know someone who's been diagnosed, we don't always know what to do, what questions to ask or how to talk about it.
Well, a relatively new Canadian charity is out to change that. It's called FCancer and it was started by a 25-year-old woman in Vancouver named Yael Cohen. Three years ago, her mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. Yael was very involved in her mom's treatment, a "research machine" as she puts it.
After her mom's first surgery, Yael made her mother a T-shirt that said FCancer - something to inspire her to keep fighting. Next thing you know, her mom started wearing the shirt everywhere. People started coming up to her, hugging her, wanting to hear her story and share theirs.
"That T-shirt opened a dialogue. It allowed people to be brave and vulnerable," Yael says. "It said what a lot of people are thinking, but won't say. It allows people to be humans, not patients."
Yael was so inspired, she started FCancer. "To name it anything else, would've been inauthentic," she says. "My intent is not to offend."
"We want to get people talking about cancer, before they have it. Or if they have it, get them talking about it. But if we don't resonate with you, that's fine."
FCancer isn't about raising money for research. The goal is to change how we look at cancer. So, instead of hoping we don't get cancer, FCancer encourages us to actively work to prevent it and find it early on. That means self-exams, regular check-ups by a doctor, and eating the right things.
"When it comes to cancer, there are a lot of things we can't control," Yael says. "Shouldn't we do everything we can to stack the cards in our favour?"
So FCancer has set out to create an online community for people to share stories, information, and say what they're actually feeling. Along with that, it works to create educational campaigns - often in a fun, humourous way.
That's where the collaboration with Funny or Die comes in. FCancer has launched a campaign called Touching Ourselves!, that will air several Funny or Die videos over the next month.
In this one, celebrity guest news anchor Lisa Ling reports on the mayhem caused by people touching themselves in public.
As part of the campaign, FCancer is holding a contest, encouraging people to submit a funny, outrageous or absurd video that teaches people how to do a self-exam - whether it's oral, breast, testicular, or skin cancer. The winner gets to be in a Funny or Die video.
"People don't talk about cancer, until they have it," Yael says. "And self-exams can be awkward. So, we're trying to simplify things and use humour to break through barriers."
FCancer is also encouraging young people to get involved, and talk to their parents about cancer. "We are the first generation, 17-35 year olds, to grow up with all this incredible technology. We can teach our parents more than any generation before us ."
"We think about it this way," Yael says. "Your parents gave you the sex talk (maybe). Now, it's your turn to give them the cancer talk."
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