Almost everyone is aware of breast cancer, and many of us know someone who has been diagnosed with the disease or may have been diagnosed themselves.
Still there are so many women who do not do a self examination for lumps, and many over 40 who do not get a mammogram. I am not sure why they don't do this. I know of several women in my age group who have never had a mammogram. They have the insurance necessary, but for some reason have been procrastinating for years.
My Breast Cancer Story
I am a breast cancer survivor. When I was 60 years old, I detected a lump in my left breast. I was scared. We had just moved to our home here in Colorado and I had been working at my new job for about six weeks. I had plenty of good reason to try to avoid checking this out. I feared I would lose my job right after I started it. I was a brand new grandma to a 3 month old baby girl, and I feared I would die and never get to know her. I justified the lump thinking I had been moving boxes and unpacking them. I figured I just bumped my left breast, and that caused a lump.
Nevertheless, I faced my fear, called my daughter's physician ( I did not have one here in Colorado yet), and went to my appointment with him. He was concerned and sent me for a mammogram. It was a cold February day, and the radiologist called me into his office after the mammogram to tell me it appeared to be a malignant tumor. We scheduled me for ultrasound and biopsy. I left the office to face my first snowfall in Colorado. I was so upset. I had to scrape the windows of my car. I started home to get stuck in traffic because a railroad cross gate was stuck in the down position. No train was coming, and we were all going around one car at a time. I was crying, and then thinking, "Great, now I will probably get hit by a train." So much for positive thinking. :)
I went through so many tests with caring and thorough providers. I had a mastectomy on the left side in March of 2010. I did not lose my job. I did not die. My beautiful granddaughter turned six in September, and she is one of the great joys of my life.
I was one of those fortunate people who found out about the cancer early, and I was extra fortunate that I had estrogen receptive cancer cells. This meant I could take a tiny pill every day to stop the production of estrogen in my body, and I did not need chemotherapy or radiation therapy. I have been cancer free for over 5 years now.
PLEASE BE AWARE! Please do your monthly breast exams, and your annual mammograms. It can save your life.