[NOTE: As with all outside submissions, this is presented with minimal editing. Dr. Leftover]
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Melissa's Memorial Page

[Presented in Memory of Melissa Levite. Written by her daughter last school year as a class assignment. Link to the American Cancer Society will open in a new window. Copyright for this article has been assigned to The Media Desk. Thank you]

My Mom and Her Deadly Disease

By Patricia

I would like to dedicate this project to my mother
who has been fighting hard against breast cancer.

       I will never forget the day that I found that my mom had cancer. She was diagnosed in February of 1999. She was 38 years old when she was diagnosed. She lost her mother to a brain tumor that was cancerous, she was 18 years old. They removed the cancer in April of 1999. When they took it out it had grown to the size of a golf ball. She started chemotherapy when she had recovered from the surgery. She got really sick. Then after Round 1 of therapy she went into Round 2 which was a little bit stronger than Round 1. She got sicker than in Round 1. This was about 6 months after the surgery. Then she went to Baltimore, MD to Johns Hopkins University hospital which is known worldwide. She went over there for Round 3 of chemotherapy. This was the strongest chemotherapy known at the time. She got super sick. She had to be put into an isolation room. Her blood counts went down to zero. This means that she had no immune system at all. This killed the cancer and afterwards she came home and went through radiation. Radiation is a high dose of gamma rays that helps to kill any remaining cancer cells in the body.
       So after this she went back to normal and life went on as normal. She went into a stage called remission which is where the cancer just stops growing altogether. In 2000 her father died of lung cancer and she went into a period of depression. Then, she was in remission for about two years, in the spring of 2002 she got the news that the cancer had spread and was now on her spine and was going up her spine towards her brain it also was on her liver. So she went on very strong chemo. This chemo was so strong that it made her sicker than she has ever been. On December 23, 2002 she had been feeling especially bad, so she went into the hospital. She was in their all through Christmas and New Years. She was in there until January 6, 2003. Then she went into a nursing home. After that they said that she had about 2 months or less to live.
       That is the end of the story of why I wrote this paper. Now I am going to tell you all about cancer. First, what is cancer? “Cancer develops when cells in a part of the body begin to grow out of control”1 Regular cells will just divide and die, but cancer cells will grow and divide but will not die. Usually cancer will move to different parts of the body and take over tissue in that area. This process is called metastasis. Cancer cells develop from damaged DNA. The DNA controls the action of the cells. Sometimes DNA can be damaged by exposure to hazardous environmental conditions such as smoke from smoking. Cancer usually is formed in a tumor. Don’t worry though not all tumors are cancerous. They are only cancerous when they metastasize and are not usually deadly. Not all cancer is formed into tumors like leukemia. Leukemia involves the blood and blood-forming organs.
       Next, what are some risk factors?2 Different cancers have different kinds of risk factors. So I’m going to list them straight off the website.

Chemicals and radiation cause about 75% of all cancer cases in the U.S. Certain cancers can be related to viral infections and could be prevented through vaccines or behavior changes. More than 1 million (estimated) skin cancer cases to be diagnosed in 2003 could be prevented from protection from the sun.
       The next question would be who gets cancer? Over one million people get cancer each year. Approximately one out of every two American men and one out of every three American women will get cancer at some point in their lifetime. About 77% of all cancers occur in people over the age of 55, even though everyone can get cancer.
       In conclusion, I thought that people needed to be informed of this subject. So if I look down and depressed or I start to cry or something you will know why because I need to let my feelings out.
1- All information comes from the website Cancer.org The American Cancer Society
2- If you are in one of these categories it does not mean that you are automatically get cancer.

Thanks Patricia, it means a lot to have your paper as part of her memorial.

For more information about Cancer in general or Breast Cancer in particular visit one of the following links.


Cancer Awareness pink ribbon
National Association of Breast Cancer Organizations

The American Cancer Society- Cancer.org

Melissa's Memorial Page
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