A Few Last Words About Breast Cancer Awareness MonthBreast cancer.
There’s not a woman alive who isn’t terrified of those words.
The good news is that breast cancer can be caught early and treated successfully just by paying attention. Yet, many women don’t monitor the condition of their breasts, don’t have annual mammograms and don’t bring problems to the attention of their doctors.
Some of the hesitation comes from the age-old taboo against a woman touching her own body. Ironically, the first step in beating this disease is to, quite literally, take matters into your own hands. Doing a breast self-exam regularly is a good way to get to know how your breasts normally look and feel. This way, you can more easily notice changes. The best time to do a breast self-exam is when your breasts are not tender or swollen, such as a few days after your period.
Two weeks ago I had my third surgery in ten years to remove a lump from my right breast. For the third time in 10 years I received the news every woman wants to hear...“You do not have breast cancer.” Each of these three times I discovered the problem myself during a regular breast self-exam.
I’m not a breast care fanatic but there is a history of cancer in my family (though, thankfully, not breast cancer), and it makes me aware of the importance of taking care of myself. I’d rather experience these little speed bumps in life and get them taken care of now than ignore signs of trouble and spend my remaining years asking “what if.”
As important as they are, self exams should not take the place of regular screening mammograms or clinical breast exams which are done by a doctor. If cost is a factor, call your local health department or library to ask for information about groups in your area which assist women with medical needs.
Most of all, don’t be afraid. Yes, you may find a lump or other abnormality, but the sooner it’s discovered, the better. Turn anxiety into action.
Take this message to heart and help spread the word. Leave a message for our readers if you like, share your story, pass along some wisdom or encouragment.