All through the year, we make bits of efforts to talk about breast cancer but it is until October that we roll out the pink ribbons en masse. Individuals, organisations and agencies collaborate to spread the word on breast cancer and ensure that hashtags on breast cancer trend for at least, a month.
This year’s breast cancer awareness month is themed “Give Hope, Save Lives” which is rather exciting because of the gloom that cancer brings. Reports say that the probability of a woman developing breast cancer is 1 in 8 but we all try to stay positive and hope against all odds that we are never the 1. This is a good thing but those who have been diagnosed with the illness never intended to have it so while we hope, what are the tips we should keep between our fingers?
- This may come as a surprise to some (which isn’t supposed to be) and that’s why it’s topping the list. Breast cancer is NOT restricted to the female gender. When you check statistics and infographics on breast cancer, you’d see the word “women” splattered everywhere (which is quite understandable because the ratio is 1:100) but men have breast tissues too. Recently, Matthew Knowles, Beyoncé’s father, revealed that he had been diagnosed with breast cancer.
- Self-examination is still very necessary. Some people try to be so woke these days by completely trashing the idea of self-examination and that is sad because although self-examination is not a sure way to diagnose breast cancer, it still helps you identify changes early on. You could carry out a self-examination yourself or with the help of a partner following the procedures available online.
- Not all lumps are malignant tumors so relax. During self-examination, you may feel a lump of tissue lodged somewhere in the breast. Do not panic. Some tumors are benign, that is, they are not cancerous and can easily be gotten rid of without chemo or a series of treatments. However, do not ignore any lump hoping that it is benign. As soon as you spot it, go see a doctor.
- Mammograms, although expensive, are worth it because the only way to verify if a lump is cancerous or not is via a mammogram test. Once you clock 40, it should become a yearly routine because the chances of having breast cancer increase with age and you don’t want to be caught unaware.
- Breast cancer is not a death sentence. If diagnosed early, breast cancer can be treated with medications and chemotherapy depending on the nature of the tumor. If it gets critical, surgery can be carried out to prevent the tumor from spreading to other parts. ACS says there are about 3.6 million breast cancer survivors in America currently so the chances of living are apparently higher.
- Breast cancer, like many other types of cancer, could be transferred genetically. It is important we ask our relatives if there have been any incidents of breast cancer and at what age it showed up because your chances of having breast cancer before 40 could go up if there has been a previous diagnosis in the family. When you know what your risk level looks like, begin to take practical steps to avoid a repeat of the incidence. And keep doing the checks too.
- You could increase your chances of having breast cancer with your lifestyle. Even in the absence of a family trait of breast cancer, you could develop the illness almost as fast by living a sedentary life. If you are obese, your chances are increased so even if not for the sake of having a nice body, for your health, trim down that fat.
- Breast cancer is not an identity. If you happen to know anyone with breast cancer, do not ever refer to them as “the breast cancer lady”. That is not her name and she was a lady before breast cancer so address her by her name. You’re welcome!
There are probably a thousand and one things you should know about breast cancer but we tried to streamline the list to the basic ones. With these, you should be armed with relevant information on how to “avoid” breast cancer, how to go about it if you develop it and how to treat other people who have it. So, any questions?
*ps. We have a Breast Cancer Awareness giveaway on our webshop http://www.kanessa.net