Prevent the Unexpected: Breast Cancer Awareness
1 in 8. That is the number of women that will hear the phrase “you have breast cancer” in their lifetime. Unfortunately, we all know someone who has been diagnosed with some sort of cancer throughout their lifetime. It’s a harsh reality when it happens to be someone you love. In light of it being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it is my hopes that through my personal story, I encourage the importance of checking yourselves and emphasize that prevention is key.
To give some insight of what the reality of it is like, I’ll share some personal experience on my aunt’s behalf. My aunt Tata began her battle with cancer at the young age of 14, fighting ovarian cancer at the time. Thankfully, she entered remission two years into her journey.
Her life continued pretty ordinarily until she was 31, when she went to shower one day and discovered a pea-sized lump on her breast. Our worst fears become a reality when Tata was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer. It turned out the pea-sized lump had tentacle-like projections, spreading the cancer vastly throughout her body. Over the next 15 years, Tata fought aggressively as the cancer spread from her breasts to her brain. January 26, 2015, she was freed from her pain and her battle with cancer came to an end.
If there is anything to take away from this story, it is the importance of breast self-examination. Remember, the best protection is early detection!! For my aunt, all it took was a pea-sized lump for it to become something so much more. Who knows if my aunts’ story would have turned out any different, had her lump been detected earlier.
Although the thought of finding a lump on self-exam is terrifying, it is also important to know that 9 out of 10 lumps are not cancer, nor does a cancer diagnosis mean a death sentence. While the story of my aunt is heavy, I want to highlight the importance of prevention and how you may help yourself or a loved one avoid the “worst-case scenario.” If you haven’t done it yet, please take a moment to do it now. Men and women both- do a self-breast exam. Save the tatas.
Written by: Sophia Perez