In honor of breast cancer awareness month.
Being a woman is such a beautiful thing. Most often, it’s a huge bag of mix emotions, and coupled with numerous responsibilities.
Sometimes, I am even overwhelmed by the many issues women have to deal with.
Growing up in a typical African setting, being a woman is a task; like a duty. You quickly grow up into womanhood long before you are actually ready to be a woman. The “woman” is a powerful being. No wonder many women today are what I will describe as super beings. You will agree with me that not all women are effeminate; depicting tenderness because they are supposed to be women.
I absolutely admire all the beautiful women who are courageous and visibly fighting the cause of equal rights they believe deserves as “humans” not only as women; and no, I am no feminist. I have not yet fully grasped the feminism battle – not a word if you asked me what I believe.
Now we can forget all about the equalities, equities and the feminist power and let’s confront the canker.
Some Breast Cancer Facts
Believe me, many women still today get a scare to know more about the disease and how to prevent it. Some do not just have the courage to hear about it.
Till today, the causes of breast cancer are not yet fully known, although quite a number of risk factors have been identified. The disease is said to have different types and treatments.
In America, statistics shows that one in every eight women develops the disease- breast cancer. It is the most common cancer among American women. The story is no different here in Africa. Women are battling the disease and with little awareness and education. With the high rates of death and many women loosing one or both breast to the disease, have raised concerns pushing NGOs and corporate bodies to create more awareness and save women’s lives.
According to the American cancer society, over 250,00 new cases of invasion breast cancer will be diagnosed each year in women in the year 2017 and over 2,400 in men. Don’t be alarmed if you’re a man reading this. Men are not totally immune to the disease. Only that the percentage of men to women who are vulnerable to breast cancer is very rare. Apparently,40,000 women and 440 men approximately died of breast cancer in 2015. There are as well millions of survivors across the globe. Although the disease predominantly occurs in women, it can also affect men and this article deals with the disease in women.
What should you know about breast cancer?
Causes, Symptoms And Signs of Breast Cancer:
Health practitioners have noted many risk factors that can possibly increase the chance of developing the disease. Though some of these risk factors are known, what actually causes breast cancer is still unknown and how the said factors influences the development of the cancer cells.
Exactly the sentiments which is creating the panic and fear amongst women since a hundred percent surety of how to prevent or reduce these factors are unknown. What is known for a fact is that, the normal breast cells become cancerous because of mutations in the DNA, and although some of these are inherited, most DNA changes related to breast cells are acquired during one’s own life. Such a dilemma! But, strong as women are, the chain of hope to conquer breast cancer have grown more stronger and widely globally to defeat the unwanted invasion.
Here are the main signs to look out for;
1. Lump in the breast or armpit
2. Orange-peel texture or dimpling of the breast’s skin
3. Swollen lymph nodes in the neck or armpit
4. Change in the shape of the breast or change in size
5. Breast pain or sore nipple
6. Bloody nipple discharge
7. Inverted nipples
These signs may or not confirm that you have the disease unless a breast cancer diagnosis is done properly during a physical exams, mammography, ultrasound, by self examination and by a biopsy.
Who Is At Risk?
To be honest, writing this article isn’t as easy as it may be reading it. The unwishful thoughts running through my mind at almost every full stop of each paragraphs, least could express the extremism of how rough and tough it must be for victims battling the disease and the survivors. My imaginary sensation and tingling rushing down my belly scares the heck out of me. It just drove my vision straight to a night I can never forget; a sight of a strong willed victim who finally gave up the battle early in March 2017. Damn scary but hope-full.
Being a woman is enough to be at risk. Just any woman at all.. The chances of every woman differs from choices of lifestyle, family health history, and fate – fate because if it will happen, it will happen.
While several risk factors are inconclusive, other risk is clearly defined.
Women at risk;
a. Women Entrepreneurs
b. Women Employees
c. The Homemaker – The Woman In The Home
d. Celebrities – Women We Celebrate
e. Women In Government and Power
f. Women In Every Corners Of The World
Some of these following factors puts you at risk;
1. Age – The chances of getting the disease increases as one gets older.
2. Your Family History – The history of a close relative who have or had the disease, doubles a woman’s risk.
3. Menstruation – Women who had early menstrual cycle at a younger age have slightly increased risk or through a menopause after 55years.
4. Breast Tissue – Women with dense breast tissue have a higher risk
5. Child Bearing – Women with no children after age 30 have an increased risk of breast cancer
6. Use of Alcohol – Alcohol use in women has shown that levels of use increases risk, including light drinking.
7. Contraceptives – Use of contraceptives in the last ten years slightly increase the risk
8. Menopause – The use of combined hormone therapy after menopause also increases risk
9. Obesity – Overweight in women increases risk
10. Breastfeeding – Women who breastfeed for one year and half to two years may have slightly lower risk … and among many other risk factors.
Yes, It Is Curable!
The worrying fact is that, it has no guarantee of prevention.
Among the many risk factors that have been discovered, both the inconclusive and defined risks can be modified in order to help reduce the risk – Avoid using alcohol, regular exercises, maintaining good body weights, healthy life choices and changes.
Nevertheless, early detection has been the best often sang prevention and awareness measures to help detection and treatment.
“Supporting the fighters, admiring the survivors, honoring the taken and never ever giving up on hope” – Anonymous
By the American cancer society’s guidelines for early detection and treatment, it can help treatment and save lives of many more women.
Briefly, here are some ways to beat breast cancer;
1. Early detection – get clinically screened or examined and for early detection and treatment
2. Chemo-prevention – chemo drugs are used to reduce the risk of cancer
3. Surgery – patients with high risk of breast cancer undergo surgery to remove the breast(s) to significantly reduce the risk.
Screening is free! In this month of going pink, women empowerment, self-care and awareness to prevent and reduce the risk of the disease; I wish you strength, courage and confidence to rise above fear and get examined. Early detection can save the breast and ultimately a woman’s beautiful life.
“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face” – Eleanor Roosevelt