Another October, another breast cancer awareness month. If you are reading this right now, you may be questioning yourself as to why breast cancer is even a topic of discussion. Awareness about something should not be undermined especially at this time of age where COVID-19 has taken the order of the day making other deadly diseases less spoken about. The unspoken conversation about breast cancer would be a rude awakening to exploring and discussing breast cancer, clearing common myths surrounding breast cancer, functional organizations for breast cancer support, and a touching story from one of my BFFs (fans) who lost her mother exactly two years ago to breast cancer.
Last year I lost a family member whom I was speaking with just a few weeks to her demise. Weeks after giving birth she noticed lumps on her breast and went to the hospital to check them, they told her it’s just from the post-partum hormones. With no further investigations, she was advised to go home and use a hot water compress on the lumps. Did this help? No! The cancer cells radiated across her body, by the time they could find the actual diagnosis it was too late. She gave up on the hungry hands of breast cancer at a very young age.
Our body is made up of cells, which is a good thing, but it gets worse when the cells start to get abnormal due to different contributing factors. Breast cancer is no exception. These abnormal cells are referred to as cancerous, thereby ‘breast cancer’.
THE UNSPOKEN BREAST CANCER MYTHS
ONLY WOMEN CAN GET BREAST CANCER: The reality is that men get breast cancer as well as women, and may not be diagnosed due to less awareness. This leads to higher mortality of breast cancer among men than women.
LUMPS: A lump is not a definite diagnosis of breast cancer, you need a mammogram and biopsy and any necessary further investigation deemed necessary by your health care provider to confirm this. Breast cancer may be present with no palpable lump.
CELLPHONES: When Medical News Today discussed this with Dr. Zeidman who is an assistant professor of breast surgery at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. Dr. Zeidman stated that “There is no evidence to support that cell phones cause cancer, period.” He added, “however, we do not have any long-term studies, so we may find this to be the case in the future. For now, why can’t you just put your phone in your pocket or bag?”
BREAST CANCER HAPPENS TO OLD PEOPLE: Even though the older you are, the higher risk of getting breast cancer. Still, anyone younger with breasts on their chest stands a risk of developing these abnormal cells leading to breast cancer.
GENETICS AND HEREDITARY: Now it doesn’t matter if your mom, nan, or dad didn’t have breast cancer. No one is safe. Breast cancer can still happen even if no one in your family had it.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF BREAST CANCER
According to the recent update on World Health Organization (WHO). Changes noted on the nipples’ appearance or surrounding skin including abnormal nipple discharge are all signs of breast cancer. Redness, lumps, changes in size or shape of the breast are also classic signs and symptoms of breast cancer. If you suspect this you need to visit your health care provider to do a further appropriate investigation to back this up. It is recommended that 40 years and above should have a yearly mammogram to be safe. Monthly breast self-examination after your period is recommended to check for any lumps.
CURRENT TREATMENTS AVAILABLE FOR BREAST CANCER
A few years back, cutting off the breast tissue which is surgically referred to as mastectomy was the first go-to for the treatment of breast cancer. With new health technology emerging and evolving, mastectomy is the last resort to an advanced stage of breast cancer.
Recently updated treatments on World Health Organization recommends radiation therapy for control of the disease in the localized area of the breast and lymph nodes including lumpectomy which can be done to remove the lumps. In cases where the whole system is affected, systemic therapy of cancer medicines may be used to prevent further spreading of the abnormal cell. To the extreme, mastectomy may be implied.
TOP ORGANISATIONS THAT SUPPORT BREAST CANCER
If you are diagnosed with breast cancer, have been affected, or want to learn more about the condition, then you are not alone. There are organizations out there dedicated to making sure this journey is a smooth one for you. Below are the top 7 organizations that support breast cancer.
- National Breast Cancer Foundation: The mission of this foundation that states, ‘We provide help and inspire hope to those affected by breast cancer through early detection, education, and support services’ , clearly speaks for it self.
- Breastcancer.org : This organisation dedicates it all to educate the community about breast cancer.
- Breast Cancer Research Foundation: Advancement in health needs research and breast cancer research foundation is seeing to it. Hopefully we hear about a more futuristic treatment from them soon.
- Young Survival Coalition : Supports younger adults under 40 years old battling and survived breast cancer. YSC is more like a community of support to the people involved.
- Pink Ribbon Foundation Provides funds and financial support to charities supporting people who have been affected by breast cancer.
- Breast Cancer Now : From providing support to creating change and doing research about breast cancer. Breast Cancer Now is a whole total package for people impacted by breast cancer.
- Breast Cancer Haven: In the past have provided live chat support which is now suspended. BCH’s website is packed with loads of information about breast cancer and contact button in case you want to reach them not on live,
A TOUCHING STORY OF LOSING A MOTHER TO BREAST CANCER
Treasure Samuel wrote: Thanks so much, Dear Sonma for this great opportunity given to me. This story is about my dear Mom. It all started in 2019, my mom woke up one faithful morning she said she is feeling as if there is a lump under her armpit but it’s not paining her so we advise her to take antibiotics which she did thinking it was a boil but no way so she was asked to visit a doctor, which she did and the doctor said they will operate her and remove it…
We agreed without running tests or scanning to know what that could be. We went ahead with the operation. A few weeks after the operation she said she is still feeling the lumps inside again so the thing due shifted a bit so went to the same hospital making it a second time again, still no changes that’s when we were referred to a new teaching hospital, getting there the doctor said we are going to run a test and scan before any treatment will commence.
To cut the story short we did the test and the results came out that she has cancer of the breasts . They said we don’t have to panic that it has not developed that much but we have to start chemotherapy immediately, but funny enough they don’t have the machine for it so they asked us to go to the neighboring state.
We started the therapy but it seems as if it’s getting worse day by day I saw my mom’s hair going off, she changed automatically.
The doctors said she is not getting any better that is better we cut the breast off so she will be free. We had no choice but to sign for the operation.
Since after the operation she came out alive but was not the same again she started complaining of chest pains all the time we bought different kinds of medicine, running from one prayer house to the other… Hmmmmmm.
Two months after my traditional marriage she died. The 23rd of this month marked two years since we buried her. Because the first Doctor isn’t a gynecologist and we don’t have the knowledge of breast cancer my mom left us.
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