At 24 I would have never thought to go ask my doctor for a mammography screening until a close friend faced the cancerous disease of breast cancer at 23.
When we think of breast cancer and raising awareness, we think of wearing pink and wearing shirts or wrist bands that say “check your tatas.”
How are you raising awareness for a cure by using breast cancer awareness as a fashion trend, and are you really checking your breasts or just wearing shirts that say check your tatas?
I urge you to take precaution now and take measures into your own hands in raising awareness and preventions before it is too late.
No one in my immediate family has had breast cancer, maybe some benign lumps that have been removed, but not cancer.
It was not until my friend (who chose to remain nameless) told me that he was going into surgery to remove some lumps from his chest because his doctor said it may be cancer.
Yes, I said he, as in male.
There will be more than 200,000 men and women in the U.S. that will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year; averaging one case every two minutes. In most breast cancer cases, the earlier doctors catch the cancer the higher the survival rate.
This individual was very healthy and fit and still is. He was a sergeant in the Marines, no history of breast cancer in his family and does not smoke nor drink. Yet, at 23 years old he was struck with breast cancer. Wow, I thought to myself, who would have thought that this individual would ever be diagnosed with this disease.
Then I remembered my story. I am a two-year thyroid cancer survivor, being diagnosed at the age of 20.
Let that sink in.
I was always active growing up, but never could keep a steady weight. I would go from 98 pounds to 175 pounds in a matter of two months. Although my weight would change significantly, the swelling in my neck area remained the same.
It looked as if I had a mini inflatable floaty hugging my neck.
I always thought it was excess fat, so I paid no attention to it. It was not until I reached 218 pounds, that I decided to go ask my doctor about my weight. She asked me before even doing any lab work, if I have had my thyroid checked out before because it looked extremely enlarged. With that being said, we checked my thyroid, came back with the results, and took action.
Luckily, doctors caught the cancer at stage one and was able to remove the cancerous nodules smoothly and for my friend, his lumps were extremely stubborn but benign, and now we both remain cancer free.
Even if breast cancer does not run in your family, or you think you are too young to get struck by this horrible disease, get your breast checked (both women and men) before it is too late. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
For information on how to check for lumps, and what to look for, visit the Susan G. Komen website at komen.org/BreastCancer/WarningSigns.html. There you can receive information on how to receive free mammograms.