My grandmother is many things: feisty, smart as a whip, witty as all get out, quite free with her tongue, gorgeous at any age and a fighter to her core. She has beaten back breast cancer, twice. A stickler for healthy eating and body maintenance, she has always been very good about annual doctor appointments and physicals. It was during one of those visits, about four years ago, that an abnormal mammogram exposed early stage breast cancer.
Being a septuagenarian, she assessed her options carefully and made a treatment decision that was right for her and the cancer was removed. During a checkup, almost two years later, a different instance of breast cancer, in the same breast, was found, again in an early stage. This time she opted to undergo chemotherapy. The road has definitely not been easy, but she is still here, kicking hard. If you asked, she would tell you that early detection was the key to her second and third chances at life.
The numbers are not heartening: 1 out of 8 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer during her lifetime, and out of those women, a whopping 85% will have no family history of the disease. It is highly likely that each of us knows and loves at least one woman who has or has had the disease.
What do these statistics mean for us? That preventive care - via healthy lifestyle choices, self-exams, and consistent and on-time screenings (as per guidelines outlined by your doctor) - can mean the difference between surviving and succumbing. Please visit the American Cancer Society for more information on early detection and prevention, and stand up for your life. -Zee