October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month – my personal story
One in eight women are diagnosed with Breast Cancer and Breast Cancer Awareness Month helps aim at an increase in early detection by encouraging women to have mammograms and to self-check every month.
October for many people is fall, featuring beautiful colors, pumpkins and Halloween. But for many like myself, it is a constant reminder of a club that no woman wants to join. October 2013, during a regular doctor visit my doctor she found a lump. She then sent me to get an ultrasound, because of my age mammograms are not as useful in picking up abnormal tissue. The whirlwind began and I was diagnosed with breast cancer Oct. 29, 2013. I am considered too young to get this horrible disease but at age 35, it obviously has no boundaries.
One in eight women are diagnosed with breast cancer and Breast Cancer Awareness Month helps promote an increase in early detection by encouraging women to have mammograms and to self-check every month.
Breast cancer is a disease which begins in the breast tissue; it’s the second most common type of cancer and mainly affects women (breast cancer is rare in men).
In 1985, the first Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) was observed in the United States. In the U.S. this event is referred to as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM).
Initially, the aim of this event was to increase the early detection of breast cancer by encouraging women to have mammograms. As many women know, a mammogram is an x-ray of the breast used to detect abnormalities in breast tissue. Early detection means that cancer can be more effectively treated and prevented from spreading to other areas of the body.
My cancer was found at the early stages. I was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer, however that did not give me an easy pass. Starting in December 2013, I underwent a lumpectomy and in January I began chemotherapy. I went through four rounds of chemotherapy and 33 rounds of radiation. I am happy to report that a year later I am doing well and living as a survivor.
All women – no matter their age should be performing self-exams and if there is any inclination that something is wrong, pursue the doctor.
Read Michigan State University Extension‘s article Managing feelings when diagnosed with a chronic illness for more information.