Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2012

My mom died of cancer, not of the breast but cancer nevertheless. While my aunt is a breast cancer survivor. She was diagnosed with breast cancer Stage 3 and had mastectomy of both breasts. That was 19 years ago. That would mean that I am in the high risk group and should then be breast cancer aware. 

However, I was not. I was afraid. I didn't bother to check because I was afraid. I went for yearly check-ups but I did not do any self checks because of this fear. Now, I am painfully aware as my own sister has just been diagnosed with breast cancer. She goes for yearly check-ups too and just had a mammogram 6 months ago. Even then...sigh.

She discovered the cancer herself quite by accident because she felt a lump on her breast. She went for a check up soon after and had a lumpectomy within 2 weeks. Now, she is faced with the decision on whether to have chemotherapy. It was a good thing she discovered the cancer at its very early stage. That shows how important breast self examination is and how important it is to take immediate action. This not only saves your life but it also makes it easier to manage. Early detection and diagnosis may make the difference between whether you need a lumpectomy or a mastectomy. It may mean whether you need chemotherapy or radiation treatment and medication.

I also find this local Malaysian magazine a good read. It is the October issue of Health & Beauty. This month being the breast cancer awareness month, has lots of articles on breast cancer. There is also a booklet by Pantai Hospital which is very useful to read. I read both booklet and magazine from cover to cover so that I will understand what sister is going through. It is also good knowledge for me, as I am at high risk, having an aunt and now a sister (a direct relative) who has breast cancer.

So, don't be afraid. Do your monthly breast self examination, ladies. You won't know you have cancer at the early stages. If not for the self discovery of the lump, sister is in the pink of health. At the early stages, it is a silent decease. I hate how this has turned her life topsy turvy. To be faced with decisions on whether to do lumpectomy surgery, chemotherapy etc when you are feeling well as if nothing is wrong with you is very tough indeed.

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