I know that the month of October has passed, but it is never too late to support a great cause. And a girl has been extremely busy. When thinking about it, I think that the month of October 2020 has been my busiest month thus far. From attending my second Doctoral Residency, which I will post about later, to writing and presenting for three (3), yes three conferences in the same month. However, I must say, I never understood what sleep deprivation and “hell week” meant until the week of October 18, now I know and wish this on no one, but a girl has to do what a girl has to do. No regrets on my part. Here were are into the month of November and I am still trying to catch up on my rest. Go figure.
The month of October, is Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM). Many of use, almost every human being knows someone who has known others who have gone through this scary experience. It is an experience that is nondiscriminatory and have the tendency to lead a person down a narrow path, hence challenging the mental and physical states of the persons diagnosed with the disease and those person the like and love.
I must say that breast cancer is nothing to take like. In most cases, it has been labeled as a terminal disease for both men d women. Breast cancer is something that can be treated in its early stages, eliminating the disease altogether or sending the patients into remission. It is not a rare disease and has been for centuries. Even women in their early 20s have been diagnosed with breast cancer, so detection and affection are not based on age demographics. Most women are told that they need to get a breast examination, i.e., mammogram, after 40. However, being that some women attract this disease in earlier years of their life, why has the Cancer Societies or the Center for Disease Control (CDC), not lowered the recommended age for scanning or early detection. If they did, it can save many headaches, heartaches, and lives—and nonetheless doctor visits and money.
Yes, it is said that it is a hereditary or genetic mutation related to most young persons attracting this ailment. I am not challenging sciences or statistics, but this is not always the case. Some women and men who attract this disease do not have any family history of breast cancer or any other cancer, so they feel no need to get early testing. It is not until they experience malfunction or irregularity in their bodily chemistry, which can result from soreness or lactation and even a lump.
But what happens when individuals, women, and men are diagnosed with breast cancer or any cancer for that matter, that is considered beatable? THEY FIGHT!!! They fight with the support of friends and family and other support systems to ensure they come out on the positive end of this potentially deadly diseases.
Fighting cancer will elicit great complexities. From overtaking mental capacities and thinking processes. In some cases, it can deter your decision making. Depending on your support system it can send you into frame of mind of giving up and letting cancer take you out without a fight.
For so many years and with the invasiveness and omnipresence of technology, I often wonder why scientists have not developed a cure for cancer. Is there one out there, they are not willing to share? I mean what’s the deal. Yes, cancer is a huge moneymaker for scientists and physicians but is not releasing the cure worth a human life. We are losing humans that deserve a chance to live. Yes, it is up to God, as well as a person’s self-determination that will keep them alive, but they wholeheartedly put their trust into science and their physicians.
It is a wonder how cancer is not an airborne disease, as it can only live on living flesh, unlike COVID, but that is another story in itself, as I would like to pay homage to October, Cancer Awareness Month, and how millions/billions of people worldwide support the cause.
Most people may asks the question of what are some of the ways to reduce the chances of getting breast cancer. I must admit it is not an easy feat and most people already have it before they know they do, or are tested.
- Eat Healthily. Eating healthy does not have to cost you a fortune. It seems that gluten-free or organic items are more expensive these days, making it extremely difficult for people who want to eat healthily. Eating healthily can mean eating a well-balanced meal with vegetables and proteins. No, they don’t have to “organic” even though it would help, but if you eat the next best thing when funds are scarce of meeting the requirements to eat gluten-free or organically.
- Exercise and stay active. Even if it means walking around your hour or block. It does not take a gym or home equipment to be active. What were people doing to stay active before gym memberships or trainers became part of society? They walked and ran.
- Keep stress and anxiety at its bare minimum. Yeah, this is hard due to most of our current circumstances. Studies have shown that exercise and eating healthy, the first two elements described, can reduce stress levels.
- Avoid tobacco products and e-cigarettes. Tobacco has been linked to lung cancer and other forms of cancer. To reduce the chances of contracting lung cancer, scientists are saying not to smoke, as, for most, this is a method to reduce stress and anxiety, but they are saying reduce the amounts of tobacco smokes or chewed/snuffed daily.
- Avoid sun overexposure. We all love the sun. This means more icecream and outdoor fun. For some of us, like Nevada and Arizona states, the sun can become extremely intolerable, getting to the 120-degrees. The sun means more time spent at the beach sunbathing, wearing little to no clothing, and driving with the windows or tops down our vehicles. Sun has been linked to a great source of Vitamin D, to increase happiness and attitude. Sun and summer months have also been linked to aggression and problematic behaviors. When it comes to sunbathing or spending too much time in the sun even to get a tan, gardening, or engaging in outdoor fun or other activities, too much sun penetration can result in skin cancer. Scientists have recommended reducing extended exposure to the sun for those who have been diagnosed with other forms of cancer.
- Early and Regular Imaging and Screening. Some individuals are born with genetic traits or mutations of cancer. This means that men and women from their generation have been diagnosed with various forms of cancer, and the gene is passed through generations. It could go back as far as parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, great-great-grandparents, and so forth. I’m sure you get the ideal. This is from the biological mother’s and father’s side. It is highly recommended that those interested in these mutating genes get early testing, as early as their 20s, and yearly tests for the rest of their lives. This preventative measure can save lives. This does not necessarily mean that only persons with these types of inherited genes should be tested, as if and when individuals, male or female, of any age, even 20s, feel as sense of breast discomfort, lumps, or discard, they must contact their physician and get tested immediately. I must say, there are some things that we cannot control to avoid attracting cancer, as it sneaks up on use like thief in the night and we don’t know that we have it until it has revealed some noticeable symptoms or lumpy landmarks on our body. However, given that cancer is detected at early stages, in most cases, it can be cured, even if it means getting breast surgery to have the source of cancer removed entirely.
- Know the risks. Knowing your risk can be a lifesaver, not only for you but for those around you. Breast cancer or any form of cancer does not only affect the person diagnosed with the disease, but it affects all persons in their social circle. Knowing the essential causes of cancer and avoiding cancer-inducing lifestyles increases personal well-being, life satisfaction, and outlook on life in general. Knowing the risks is essentially knowing family history and age at which testing is needed. Know your body rhythms.
We must remain cognizant of how breast cancer affects individuals. We must continue to support those who have been diagnosed with Breast Cancer and those who are in remission. Cancer is a life-altering experience and depending on a person’s outlook on life, optimistic or pragmatic, one can mentally overpower the detriments that cancers elicit. For those with a pessimistic or negative attitude, it can cause them to go downhill, tumbling fast.
Even though breast cancer is down since 1989, according to the American Cancer Society, this does not mean that men cannot get it. This is especially true for individuals who have inherited genetic mutations and have had family members diagnosed with any form of cancer, even if it was from cigarette smoking or tobacco, exposure to toxic chemicals, an unhealthy lifestyle, or too much sun exposure. Men can get breast cancer as well, just at significantly lower rates than women.
MEN. MEN. MEN.
Men, you are not out of the woods. The American Cancer Society found that approximately 2,620 men have been diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and of those 520 died. Some of the risk factors are related to, but are not limited to, aging, family history, inherited gene mutations, klinefelter syndrome-this is a congenital condition diagnosed at birth (YXX or additional X chromosomes), exposure to radiation or toxic chemicals, high alcohol consumption, liver disease, estrogen treatment, obesity, and testicular condition-undescended testicle; mumps as an adult, or having both testicles surgically removed. Research has also found that while men have a lesser chance of getting breast cancer when compared with their women constituents, black men are a higher risk when compare to white men which seeming results in the acute prognosis (see link for more details: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer-in-men/about/key-statistics.html).
Preventative Measures for men:
- Limit alcohol intake
- Eat healthy, exercise, and stay physically active
- Know your risk when it comes to family history and genetics.
All of these preventative measures as similar to those aforementioned. Cancer can be prevented but in some cases it is inevitable. We just need to know how to sustain a healthy lifestyle, have a positive outlook in life, reduce our levels of stress and anxiety, and avoid excessive tobacco intake and sun exposure. In the event that individuals are diagnosed with this potentially disastrous disease, we must fight the fight together and support one another as it is one of the major sources of successful healing.