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Breast Cancer is a hard reality of every second, every minute of the day. Friends, partying, careers, fashion, networking are some of the things on the minds of women today. But underneath this carefree and blissful life, there lie some bleak uncertainties. The uncertainties, that certain disease can effect anytime directly or indirectly.
We always hear about Breast Cancer, but do we really care about it? Unless we are hit by the dreadful disease ourselves or see how it destroys the lives of people we’re close to. We don’t really care do we?
We brood and cry over hundreds of issues during the day, tout a pink ribbon over our handbags or stick it over our clothes and raise awareness. But do we really do anything about it? We should have!! We are the women of 21st century and we’re supposed to know about it.
A few days ago, a friend of mine was diagnosed with Breast Cancer, it is true that the main factor that causes the breast cancer is family history, but in my friend’s case, no family history and she was a healthy individual. This for sure leaves us to think that others are not 100 percent safe!!
I myself did not know much about it , the little I did know was “ pain in the breasts “ and “ stiffness of breast “ which I often experienced before my menstrual cycle and was always scared that I had breast cancer. They say little knowledge is dangerous! (It surely was in my case!!).
With the life threatening illness, comes the stress to do it all., find any cure available , Google until the letters on the key board fade, search for alternative treatments (available any if ), cost is never the concern but just a ray of hope and guarantee that they will survive. There is a need to protect our loved one. And that’s exactly what I did!
Statistics say that one in eight of women can be diagnosed with breast cancer. The survival rate for the women who develop breast cancer in their 30’s is 5 years, which is much lower than those in their 60’s. The overall survival rate over a 20 year is slightly above 50 %. These are terrifying statistics, they only serve to frighten me and make me question the survival of my friend. But, I can’t completely ignore it as well.
The fear of unknown is so great here, because we don’t; know what’s going to happen with each different step. From Lumpectomy (the removal of the breast tumor and some of the normal tissue around), to Chemotherapy (to weaken and destroy cancer cells in the body) and finally Mastectomy (removal of the breast), each of these steps will bring its own challenges and fears for my friend.
There is a common myth that the breast cancer is more common among the women in 30-40 age groups but it does not hold true anymore. It can happen to anyone irrespective of the age.
When we are young, immortality seems like a reality. We are energetic, fresh, and too busy to care and we often manage to ignore things successfully. How many young women take time to check their breast on regular basis and see that everything is normal?
In our society women are too shy to look at their breast, and even if they see and find some abnormality they are too embarrassed to talk about it. My advice to all the women out there would be talk about it, share the concerns and fears, and spread the awareness. Scary as that thought could be, but if detected in early stages, breast cancer can be cured. Awareness is the key, and it’s never too late to be aware.
It is difficult to predict what future holds for us, but awareness goes a long way and that one phone call to the doctor to set up and appointment may be a small price to pay for the healthy life.
*Photo credit: dixiebellecupcakecafe (Used under the Creative Commons Attribution License)
I am into a full time job of a homemaker now, and thoroughly enjoy the
Loved this article Shazneen
Thanks !! Gauri …
I have two colleagues who’ve been diagnosed, treated and -touch wood- cured of breast cancer. Both were in their late forties when the cancer was detected. They religiously go for follow/check up sessions and pay attention to their doctor’s advice. one is nearing retirement.
i know of another lady who underwent treatment but did not go for the check up session thinking that she was cured of the disease and within 2 years she died not of breast cancer but of brain cancer. i would not know if she was skipping medicines.
what I want to say is that one should be willing to accept that her vulnerable condition needs constant monitoring. Even if a single caner cell manages to reach the lymph node it can escape to any part of the body and attack new tissues.
I agree completely.. one should be fight it out with a strong will power and with positive attitude that they can pass through this difficult time and I am sure nothing works more then , own will power along with medication..
Good to read your piece Shazneen. Finally in India we are beginning to talk about breast cancer. I’m a survivor myself having been diagnosed two years ago. I was lucky to have an excellent doctor who was very supportive. Been through all the emotions you have touched upon, it happens with any major illness.
I’m in my 50s and had read a lot on the issue. Also as a women’s rights activist I was aware of the need to be open about it. That has been a big help to me. A multiplicity of factors contribute to breast cancer. The best is to attend to any pain or discomfort as soon as possible.
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