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Why Is Breast Cancer Awareness So Important

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Breast cancer affects millions of women around the world every year. Those who survived most likely had undergone screening exams for early detection of breast cancer so the treatment became successful. Those who were less fortunate most likely did not consult a health professional until they saw the appearance of some symptoms, and the cancer had spread to other parts of their bodies.

According to a report, a 37 year old woman from Lancashire, in the UK, had noticed an indentation on her breast. Because it was only a mark not a lump, she thought it was the result of wearing an ill fitting bra and nothing serious; but when she causally mentioned to her doctor during a routine check up, the doctor got alarmed and sent her for a series of tests. The results were disheartening and showed that she had breast cancer and three tumors on the spine. The doctors said her disease is incurable, but Lisa Roberts, a mother of two, is hoping that with the operation and treatments that she currently receives, she will have more years to live and see her children growing up.

Her friends are helping her cope with her present situation, and even set up a campaign through Facebook and other means, to heighten breast cancer awareness on women and to raise money for Lisa’s treatment in the US. People reacted positively to this campaign which they called “Kick Cancer”, and the donations that poured in amounted to 12,000 pounds.  As soon as Lisa recovers from her operation, her friends will arrange for her trip to Houston, Texas for a consultation with medical experts.

This is not purely about the ill fitting bra, nor the donations gathered by the campaign.  This story shows the importance of breast cancer awareness. Early detection (look out carefully, not just a lump, even a mark or anything looks minor abnormal) and proper treatment is the key to survive the disease. Breast cancer, especially in its very early stages, do not always show symptoms. If you are diagnosed with this disease because of the symptoms, the cancer tends to be on the later stages and has already spread beyond the breast.  If breast cancer is detected through tests such as screening exams, the disease is most likely to be small and is still confined within your breasts.

There are various screening exams and ways to detect breast cancer early. The use of mammogram, MRI (on women of high risk), clinical and self breast examinations offer you the best chance to survive a breast cancer. Be aware also of the changes that happen on your breasts and make sure that you report it to your physician early on.  There is no apparent risk factor for breast cancer, but some factors such as being a woman, getting older, lifestyle change, unhealthy habits, or diet, can contribute.  There is also the environment, with all its cancer-causing factors.

Unfortunately, you can never tell when or why you will develop a breast cancer.  The best thing to do is to be alert and do the necessary checks on your breast; and you start as soon as you are 20 years old, with a breast self-exam (BSE).  Between your 20 and 30 years, get a clinical breast exam (CBE) every 3 years.  At age 40+, a mammogram is recommended every year.

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  • Sofia Johnson
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