It’s the Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Which means it is time to go pink and find out how healthy our breasts are.
Research has shown that early detection of breast cancer can save lives and reduce the need for a mastectomy.
Self-examination is easy, but if you’re still not sure whether you are doing it right, you can go to your nearest clinic for an examination.
During the month of October, many hospitals offer free breast examinations to encourage women to know their status.
Lisa, a breast cancer survivor, recounts her experience.
'I was diagnosed with breast cancer at what I think was a pretty young age – I was 30. What took me to the doctor was the constant nagging of my boyfriend. One time during foreplay, he felt a lump in my breast and advised me to have it checked "even though I’m sure it’s nothing". I ignored his plea.'
Lisa continues, 'On subsequent love-making sessions, he would ask me if I had gone for a check and I would dismiss him, adding that he was killing the mood. To be honest, I was really scared of going and confirming my fears. My family has a history of breast cancer – my aunt died of breast cancer after a late diagnosis.'
I knew that was all the more reason for me to go for a check, but you know what they say: ignorance is bliss. I didn’t want to deal with the possibility I could have breast cancer.
It was, however, just a matter of time before ignorance caught up with Lisa. Her breasts became painful to the point she did not want them touched during sex.
'I couldn’t take my boyfriend touching my breasts. What had been a pleasurable experience soon turned into a nightmare. And besides, my confidence levels had dipped after my breasts started to get dimples – I just didn’t want to deal with the questions anymore.'
When Lisa went for a check, the doctor examined her and recommended an x-ray. That’s when she knew the situation was not good.
And indeed it was confirmed she had breast cancer. Fortunately, it was still in the early stages.
'I underwent surgery and although it was not a pleasant experience, I’m proud to say I emerged victoriously.'
The story is not always positive as some people are diagnosed late.
Lisa says, 'This month, I want to encourage every woman to go for a breast examination – whether or not you exhibit physical signs of possible breast cancer. Let’s be proactive in ensuring the health of our breasts.'
To the men – let’s also remember you could get it too, even though it is much less common. So let’s all get our breasts examined.