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December 01, 2011

Breast Cancer - Are You at Risk?

Breast cancer cases are surging across the globe. Over the past three decades, worldwide, the number of new breast cancer cases diagnosed  increased dramatically -  6 lakhs in 1980 to 16 lakhs in 2010. It is the Number One  cancer among Indian women living in cities. In a lifetime, one in fifteen women in India is diagnosed with breast cancer.

What causes cancer in the breast? The result of empirical research points at genetic predisposition, lifestyle, hormonal changes. In other words, the answer is not definitive.

What can a woman do to prevent its occurrence? Apart from adopting a normal, healthy lifestyle,  precious little. However, early detection is the most significant factor affecting survival. I was extremely fortunate to get an early diagnosis and prompt treatment. This was many years ago. Nowadays, medical science has made much progress. Diagnosis, treatment and survival rates are better.

Do you have breast cancer?
Every woman above 40 years must keep her eyes peeled for the early warning signs. Do a breast self-examination(BSE) once a month, in the privacy of your bathroom.

Look for a painless lump in the breast or the armpit, changes in the shape, colour or texture of the breast or oozing from the nipple.  Even if you have none of these symptoms, an annual medical check-up which includes breast cancer screening (mammogram) is a must. 

Believe me, ladies, breast cancer cells in your body  are far, far more dangerous than insects in your kitchen. If there are any malignant cells lurking in your body, do all you can, as quick as you can, to find and destroy them!

1 comment:

Rhoda said...

I'd like to share an anecdote:

A handsome, middle-aged man walked quietly into the cafe and sat down.

Before he ordered, he couldn't help but notice a group of younger men at the table next to him. It was obvious they were making fun of something about him, and it wasn't until he remembered he was wearing a small pink ribbon on the lapel of his suit that he became aware of what the joke was all about.

The man brushed off the reaction as ignorance, but the smirks began to get to him. He looked one of the men square in the eye, placed his hand beneath the ribbon and asked, quizzically "This?"

With that the men all began to laugh out loud. The man he addressed said, "Hey, sorry man, but we were just commenting on how pretty your pink ribbon looks against your blue jacket!"

The middle-aged man calmly motioned for the joker to come over to his table and invited him to sit down. The guy obliged, not really sure why...

In a soft voice, the middle aged man said, "I wear this ribbon to bring awareness about breast cancer. I wear it in my mother's honour."

"Oh, sorry dude. She died of breast cancer?"

"No, she didn't. She's alive and well. But her breasts nourished me as an infant and were a soft resting place for my head when I was scared or lonely as a little boy. I'm very grateful for my mother's breasts and her health."

"Umm," the stranger replied, "Yeah."

"And I wear this ribbon to honour my wife." the middle-aged man went on.

"And she's okay, too?" the other guy asked.

"Oh, yes. She's fine. Her breasts have been a great source of loving pleasure for both of us and with them she nurtured and nourished our beautiful daughter 23 years ago. I am grateful for my wife's breasts, and for her health."

"Uh huh. And I guess you wear it to honour your daughter as well?"

"It's too late to honour my daughter by wearing it now. She thought she was too young to have breast cancer, so when she accidentally noticed a small lump, she ignored it. She thought that since it wasn't painful, it must not be anything to worry about. My daughter died of breast cancer one month ago."

Shaken and ashamed, the now sober young man said, "Oh man, I'm so sorry mister."

"So, in my daughter's memory, too, I wear this little ribbon which allows me the opportunity to enlighten others. Now, go home and talk to your wife and your daughters, your mother and your friends. And here..."

The middle-aged man reached in his pocket and handed the other man a little pink ribbon.

The guy looked at it, slowly raised his head and asked, "Can ya help me put it on?"

Do regular breast self-exams and encourage the women you love to do the same.


Please share this with anyone you would like to remind of the importance of breast cancer

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