It is October! This is the month for:
- football games
- tailgate parties
- trips to the cider mill
- breast cancer awareness
Say what? Does that mean we only need to be aware of breast cancer one month of the year? As a breast cancer survivor I can tell you that once you are diagnosed, every month becomes breast cancer awareness. We are already quite aware of breast cancer.
In addition to awareness, there is the onslaught and backlash of pink merchandising. “Think before you pink” is now a trademarked slogan. Merchandisers advertise that a portion of their sales is invested into breast cancer work. A very small percentage goes into breast cancer research.
Then there is the debate within breast cancer circles as to where the emphasis should be. It seems to go something like this:
- cure trumps prevention
- prevention trumps early detection
- early detection trumps awareness
It seems all aspects are important. If we prevented breast cancer, we would not need a cure. If early detection meant survival for everyone, we would not need a cure. If awareness alone prevented breast cancer, we would not need a cure. The bottom line is: we need a cure.
Wait a minute. There’s still something missing. Breast cancer does not come in “one size fits all” and not all breast cancers are created equal. We owe it to ourselves and to others to learn about the types of breast cancer. Little is known about Inflammatory Breast Cancer, which is one of the deadliest forms and tends to strike younger women. There is Stage IV or metastatic breast cancer. People with this type of cancer will have it for the rest of their lives. And there is Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC). The latter is resistant to traditional therapies and treatments. Thus, making it an aggressive form of breast cancer.
It used to be that breast cancer was an older woman’s disease. This is no longer the case. Genetic testing has increased awareness. The BRCA gene has changed the breast cancer landscape for many. Younger women who test positive for this gene have elected to take advantage of preventative measures by having a bilateral mastectomy.
Knowing breast cancer exists is not enough. We have to be vigilant when it comes to our breasts. Let’s shift our focus to breast health and look for proactive ways to impact our health by:
- eat an alkaline diet
- eliminate sugar – breast cancer is a sugar addict
- eliminate alcohol
- perform monthly breast exams
- schedule our annual mammogram
Know whether or not you have dense breasts. Those with dense breasts require different diagnostics than the traditional mammogram. Knowledge is power.
Let’s arm ourselves with the best arsenal available.
“There are moments – a phone call, a knock on the door – when the course of our life changes in a heartbeat, bringing us what we do not want, and cannot stop.” Richard Paul Evans, The Gift.