This is the first of a two-part post by Michael Cheshire. Stay tuned for Part 2 next week.

If my wife tells you she likes to run 5K races, don't believe her.

Oh, she has run her fair share of them, although rarely with any training, and often after signing up the day before. However, it isn't the run she loves; it's what goes with it. It's the free T-shirts and worthy causes that get her into the race.

Her closet is a museum on hangers; a rainbow of colored t-shirts spanning nearly every disease known to humanity. The vast majority, though, are for battling cancer. Breast cancer. Colon cancer. Cancer research for children. You name it; odds are she has the T-shirt. And I get it. Cancer is a brutal invader in our lives. It has taken some of our closest friends and family members.

The importance of self-exams

I'm not a runner. But I still go to these 5ks and hang out at the finish line with the kids. I usually spend my time reading pamphlets on cancer as I try to score snacks from the race coordinators. At a recent run, I struck up a conversation with a doctor. Prompted by the cause the runners were supporting, our conversation turned to cancer. I liked him because he used small words that helped me grasp what the disease does to the body. Towards the end of our conversation, I asked him what I could do to avoid this particular form of cancer. He smiled and said, "Find it first."

For most cancers, the sooner it is found, the higher one's rate of survival. "The first tool is early detection" he stated. This may be simple, but it's wise. Identifying an enemy in your body quickly will boost your odds of defeating it.

But isn't this principle true for more than just physical disease? So many times I am a carrier of things (that if they ...

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