Last year, I wrote my story about how I beat breast cancer twice on our blog. The goal was for all to understand how vital regular checkups are to catch it early, to prevent late stages of breast cancer.
Doing monthly self-examination is very important, but it is not enough for women with larger breasts, this is especially true if you have a family history of this dangerous illness.
This is how you do a self-exam – “With the middle fingers of your left hand, gently yet firmly press down using small motions to examine the entire right breast. Next, sit or stand. Feel your armpit because breast tissue goes into that area. Gently squeeze the nipple, checking for discharge.” www.medlineplus.gov
Mammogram and Ultrasound
It would be best if you started mammograms and ultrasound examinations of your breast in your early 40s annually. The older you are, the risk of getting breast cancer is higher.
I caught both cancers in a very early stage because I was so disciplined with the annual checkups. They were at such an early stage I didn’t even have to through chemotherapy or radiation. Luckily, both cancers were not aggressive, the kind that spreads quickly through the lymph glands and causes metastases in other parts of the body.
Even if the cancer is the more invasive kind, regularly doing a mammogram or ultrasound can mean a difference between life and death.
Take Your Health Seriously
The risk of cancer grows as you age, but it is different for different ethnicities as well.
“Black women tend to be diagnosed at a younger age than white women. The median age at diagnosis for Black women is 60, compared to 64 for white women.” https://www.komen.org/breast-cancer/risk-factor/age/
Never ignore a small bump that wasn’t there before or a change in skin color or nipple shape. Ignoring will not make it go away. It will only make it worse because you will give it time to grow and spread.
I Am Not Trying to Scare You
As a woman who has gone through breast cancer twice, I am not trying to be negative or to scare you; on the contrary. I wish with all my heart that you don’t have to go through it all.
I have heard so many stories from women who turned a blind eye to changes on their breasts that ended badly. This is why I am so persistent and even bore you with my insisting that you go and do annual checkups of your breasts.
Breast Cancer Is Curable
Fortunately for all of us, modern medicine has found ways to tame this beast, but it only works if it is caught on time. I can’t stress this enough. Cancers have four stages where stage 1 is the beginning of a cancerous mass forming in your body, and stage 4 is the final, where it has usually spread to many organs – metastasized.
If you catch breast cancer in:
- Stage 1 – the 5-year the survival rate is 99%,
- Stage 2 – the 5-year the survival rate drops to 93%,
- Stage 3 – the 5-year the survival rate drops to 72%, and for
- Stage 4 – the survival rate for 3 years is 22%.
I think that this statistic is enough to convince you to go and do a mammogram every year.
Breast Cancer Risk Factors
Some things increase the risk of getting breast cancer. Try avoiding them.
- Being overweight
- Eating processed foods
- Not exercising enough
- Being exposed to estrogen through HRT, contraceptive pills, plastic packiging and so on….
I Survived Breast Cancer Twice So Can You
It has been almost 16 years since the first cancer diagnosis and nearly 8 since the second one. The miracle in my story does not exist it is only my discipline to go and do the necessary tests. I went every single year since I was 30 because my mother had breast tumors. Although her were benign I was not going to risk it.
Since the first breast cancer operation, I have gone for a mammogram or ultrasound every 6 months just to be on the safe side.
Don’t let the discomfort or cost of a mammogram or ultrasound stop you from taking care of your health. It is much cheaper than chemo and all hospital bills that come with a little bump that you ignored.
I wish that none of you reading this go through a cancer scare with all of my heart. Stay healthy and take good care of yourself.