Many Nigerian women posted names of certain fruits on their facebook timelines yesterday, this was done to raise awareness about breast cancer. I decided to write a little bit about the menace on the blog.
In many countries across the world, October is the breast cancer awareness month with the pink ribbon as the most visible symbol.
Early detection of this disease makes it a lot easier to treat/manage. Self examination of the breasts on a monthly basis is vital, if there’s a family history of breast cancer then it makes it even more imperative to do so. There are five steps to this exercise and you can get the step and pictures in the link below.
Steps for Self Examination
For women over the age of 40, it is important to schedule a mammogram (x-ray of the breasts) examination every year as the breast tissues become denser. There are some schools of thought that believe mammograms should begin at 50 and should be every two years. If you have had a family member who has had breast cancer, do it annually.
Men suffer from breast cancer too, while the prevalence is not comparable to females. It exists.
What do you do if you discover a lump in your breast after self examination? First thing is, do not panic. Not every lump is an indication of breast cancer, it could a cyst or a nonthreatening mass.
Calmly take yourself to the hospital and see your doctor who might ask you to do a mammogram or a biopsy to ascertain what kind of lump it is.
What if the results indicate it might be breast cancer? You and your doctor will discuss treatment options (if you have a doctor who doesn’t discuss your treatment options for any disease/condition, you should change doctors).
Living in Nigeria makes having any condition many times harder to bear than in most other countries. However there are resources available to help you get through. The Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria (BRECAN) founded by Mrs Betty Anyanwu- Akeredolu is one of the more prominent ones.
Their online home is www.brecan.org
To our brothers, friends, lovers and fathers, remind the women in your life to do the self examinations monthly, be that pillar of support if she discovers something scary. Get information on this killer scourge (everyone should).
Finally, in the early stages of breast cancer- even in Nigeria, it is very treatable. Many women get treatment and live for many years afterwards, it is not a death sentence at that point.