By Denisse Carranza, Senior
My grandmother always goes for her annual mammogram. In 2008, her doctor noticed an unusual mass after her results came back and he ordered a biopsy. The results were lost and found months later. Despite the delay, the cancer was still treatable. To get rid of all the cancerous tissue developed, the doctors had to surgically remove her entire right breast. Today, nine years later, she’s still a strong and cancer-free woman surrounded by all her grandchildren.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. People, including major breast cancer charities, publicize information about breast cancer and how it can affect everyone. Some of the most popular organizations are Susan G. Komen, National Breast Cancer Foundation, and Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation. They raise funds to further research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure.
But what is breast cancer? Breast cancer starts in the breast cells as a group of cancer cells that can metastasize (spread) to other areas of the body. Studies show that one in eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. Despite popular belief, Male Breast Cancer can happen too! Everyone is born with some breast cells and tissue. It is rare, but men’s breast cells and tissue can still develop cancer. There are only about 2,190 diagnoses each year.
Note that breast cancer cannot be prevented, but it can be detected early. Self-exams have been proven to help with early detection. According to John Hopkins Medical center, self-exams should be done at least once a month. With these exams, you are looking for any kind of unusual lump or hardness. Here are steps to these Self-Exams as provided by the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc website:
Self-exams can’t prove whether or not you have breast cancer; however, it can help you find anything unusual. If you do notice something unusual, make an appointment with your doctor to check it out. Your doctor will probably refer you to have a screening mammogram.
Screening mammograms are important, even if you have no symptoms. Screening mammograms can detect cancer early and prevent the need for extensive cancer treatments. This is why doctors recommend them annually. Make sure you and your family take all preventive measures!
Some things to know about me are: I spend (or waste) most of my day scrolling through tattoo and art accounts. I love learning more about my family and Honduran culture. You'll probably find me in the hall(s) talking lively about my baby niece or Harry Styles- no shame. I don't have much experience, but I hope my writing ignites your interest!