Today, my friend Doctor Emily Bruce reminded me, that this week is Breast Cancer Prevention Week. Her reminder brought to mind the many women I have come to know personally and through my practice as a social worker, who have survive breast cancer. I recently had a breast cancer scare myself. Since the age of forty, every year I have faithfully had a mammograph done and the results have been negative. However, two weeks ago when I went in for my yearly test and received the results, the mammograph came back abnormal. I was told I had to come back for an ultrasound and of course my anxiety went through the roof.
For the first time in my life, I, too, like so many women wonder if I really had breast cancer. Although, the disease doesn’t run in my family, hearing the news I had abnormal results was overwhelming. A week later, I had the ultrasound done and learn “there was something there that looked like a cyst” but the radiologist wasn’t sure. He strongly advised me to see a breast specialist as soon as possible. I was calm, but inside, I was scare as hell. I told only four people, my daughter, Tierri, my sister Crys and a couple of close friends. I kept the news from everyone else, I didn’t want to worry anyone.
So I went to the appointment alone by choice and saw the breast specialist. After she examine me, it turned out to be a cyst which she drain right there in her office. I was so relieved and although, my outcome was positive, there are so many women out there who are not as fortunate.
Prevention is key in not only catching and treating breast cancer early, but stopping it all together. It’s imperative women remember to conduct self breast exams and go in yearly for a mammograph as a defense against the disease. The Affordable Health Care Act has made it possible for women to receive mammographs for free. Along with self breast exams, it’s the first line of prevention.
So I take to heart my friend and colleague, Doctor Emily Bruce’s urgent reminder. Like her I encourage everyone who has a Facebook account to post a big heart on their wall in honor of “Breast Cancer Prevention Week.” Breast cancer is not only a female issue, it’s an issue that affects us all.