I recently got the news via email that one of my best friends has just been diagnosed with colon cancer. I’m still in shock. My friend is a little younger than I am and has no history of cancer in her immediate family. Due to some minor bleeding, she decided to visit the doctor. She expected, as we all do I suppose, for the tests to come back negative.

We met in our twenties. We’ve supported each other through breakups, breakdowns and layoffs. We married a few months apart, and we each had two children very close in age. She stayed married, I divorced. We’ve both moved many times, to different countries, and our friendship still stands strong. She’s the kind of friend with whom I can pick up right where we left off, no matter whether it´s been months or years since our last communication.

Now, she lives on another continent, in a very different time zone. And I so want to be there to hold her hand and offer my unflinching support as she has done for me, many, many times.

Read Related: Her Death To Cancer Taught Me Gratitude

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, not colon cancer awareness month. And yet, cancer is cancer, no matter where in your body it decides to make its appearance.

This week on Mamiverse we’re running an essay by a single mom of two young girls who is battling breast cancer. It was diagnosed during a routine exam. She’s also close to my age. I can’t thank her enough for wanting to share her struggle with our readers, even when she isn’t yet in the clear. We’ll also be sharing in another article what brands and cosmetics you can buy that will help contribute to finding a cure.

In the meantime all we can do is pledge to do our routine exams. I’ve been having regular mammograms since I had a benign lump in my breast at 23. And every time, my heart pounds as I enter the doctor’s office for him to give me the results. So far so good. I never skip my gynecological yearly checkup either. My kids do have a family history of cancer: their paternal grandmother and her two sisters have all suffered from it. One of them died, the other two are survivors. So I worry. But worrying is for naught.

All I can do right now, today, is hope my friend really is as positive about her diagnosis as she sounded in her email. I wish it not only for her, but for her kids—the same age as mine—her husband and her extended family. I think about her every single day.

Yesterday I was offered insurance “in the event that I should die”. I laughed. I told the broker that in case he didn’t realize it, I am going to die. We all are. We know it and yet we skirt the issue until someone close to us is hit by a life-threatening illness. Then we are forced to remember.

Let’s not wait for cancer to strike us or a loved one to be reminded of the importance of living life to its fullest, and also of a little prevention. Let’s schedule our mammogram, Pap smear, colonoscopy, and then get on with the business of life, until our time comes. We owe it to ourselves, and to our children.