Jan, 17
My aunt died last year because of breast cancer. Cancer is not a single disease but rather a group of diseases characterized by their ability to cause cells to change in abnormal ways and grow out of control. Most types of cancer form a tumor, a lump or mass of cancerous cells. Cells from a tumor may break away and travel to other parts of the body, where they can settle and multiply. This spreading process is called metastasis, and new cancers that have broken off and spread from the original tumor are metastases. Not all tumors are malignant. Some are benign (non cancerous) and do not spread or become life-threatening like the one that touched my aunt.

Kasia, 17
I remember my sister suffering from depression. It was terrible, because while sadness touches all of our lives at different times, the illness of depression can have enormous depth and staying power. If you have ever suffered from depression or been close to someone who has, you know that this illness cannot be lifted at will or wished or joked away.
Being depressed has nothing to do with personal weakness. Studies reveal that changes in nerve pathways and brain chemicals called neurotransmitters can affect your moods and thoughts. Now my sister is all right but it took her a lot of time to become herself again.

Marta, 19
I have always known that one of my cousins behaves really strangely but now I know it is called schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a chronic mental illness that is difficult to define and is easily misunderstood. People with schizophrenia frequently have difficulty recognizing reality, thinking logically and behaving normally in social situations. It is surprisingly common, affecting 1 in every 100 people worldwide!

Eryk, 17
I have never heard of a peptic ulcer until my uncle started having it. A peptic ulcer is a type of sore or a hole that forms in the lining of the stomach or intestine. The word “peptic” refers to the digestive process. The lining of the stomach is a layer of special cells, chemicals and mucous that prevent the stomach from being damaged by its own acids and digestive enzymes. If there is a break or ulcer in the lining, the tissue under the lining can be damaged by the enzymes and corrosive acid.

Marek, 19
My aunt has admitted recently that she suffers from insomnia. She is plagued by trouble falling asleep, unwelcome awakenings during the night, and fitful sleep. She also experiences daytime drowsiness, yet still is unable to nap, and is often anxious and irritable or forgetful and unable to concentrate. Although it’s the most common sleep disturbance, insomnia is not a single disorder, but rather a general symptom like fever or pain. Finding a remedy requires uncovering the cause. My aunt says that it is because she is overworked and so she is going to quit her job.

Aga, 18
I am very worried, because my grandfather has had a stroke. A stroke occurs when an injury to a blood vessel supplying the brain causes it to burst, resulting or becomes blocked. The injury deprives the brain of a constant blood supply carrying oxygen and nutrients. The most terrible about stroke is that some of the cells of the brain die, possibly taking with them the ability to move, speak, feel, think, or even recognize people. Now my granddad is slowly getting over. Our doctor says that recovery after a stroke depends on how well healthy areas of the brain take over duties that had been performed by the damaged brain tissue.

Tomek, 17
My dad suffers from a serious heart disease which is coronary artery disease. This is a narrowing of the coronary arteries that reduces blood flow to the heart muscle, which can cause chest pain (angina) or a heart attack. The coronary arteries play a vital role by supplying the heart with oxygen-rich blood. The heart muscle depends on two main arteries, the right and left coronary arteries, for its entire supply of blood and oxygen. Either of these arteries or any of their branches can be narrowed by a buildup of fatty plaque, known medically as atherosclerosis. In atherosclerosis, the artery walls become filled with soft, mushy deposits that eventually make the artery hard, stiff, and narrow. Complete or prolonged interruption of blood flow, causing severe or prolonged ischemia, leads to the death of heart muscle cells that constitutes a heart attack.

Anna, 18
Sneezing, scratchy throat, runny nose these are every day ailments that disturb my little brother’s life. Although the common cold is usually mild, with symptoms lasting 1 to 2 weeks, in our house it is a leading cause of doctor visits and missed days from school. Children have about 6 to 10 colds a year, but my brother has at least three times more! He is very delicate and gets cold even in summers! One day he is all right and you think you can go for a walk with him, and another he stays in bed with 40 degree fever. He takes vitamins, wears warm clothes, drinks a lot of water and hardly ever plays sports but all these methods do not work. Our doctor says that he may be like that whole his life as he was born premature.

Maria, 19
I remember that my great grandfather had an Alzheimer’s. This disease damages the brain’s intellectual functions (memory, orientation, calculation), but at first, it largely spares those parts of the brain that control sensation and movement. The memory often is affected early and gradually deteriorates, causing impaired judgement and other problems that may affect your ability to perform normal daily activities. Although Alzheimer’s usually begins later in life, generally after age 60, it can affect people as young as age 30.

Robert, 18
Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing, this is my daily routine. Some people have compared the irritated bronchial tubes of asthma to a scraped knee after a fall on the pavement. The irritants and allergens that you breathe in every day are like harsh chemicals poured on the wound. If you can avoid them, the swelling and sensitivity lessen. When I do not eat carbohydrates and stay away from an imals I gradually notice less coughing, fewer nighttime awakenings, easier breathing, and less frequent need for medications.

Improve your vocabulary!

breast cancer – rak piersi
cells – komórki
tumor, lump – guzy
malignant – złośliwy
depression – depresja
peptic ulcer – choroba wrzodowa
acids – kwasy
digestive enzymes – kwasy trawienne
insomnia – bezsenność
drowsiness – senność
fever – gorączka
stroke – wylew
a blood vessel – naczynie krwionośne
heart disease – choroba
coronary artery disease – choroba wieńcowa
sneezing – kichanie
scratchy throat – drapiące gardło
runny nose – katar
common cold – przeziębienie
Alzheimer’s – choroba Alzheimera
asthma – astma