Be a fighter

Published 7:03 pm Friday, October 6, 2017

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

It’s time to take a look at one of the deadliest diseases for women — a disease that affects 1 in 8 women in their lifetime. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women of all races and ethnicities. It’s the most common cause of cancer deaths in Hispanic women, and the second-most common in white, black, Asian/Pacific Islander and American Indian/Alaska Native women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Although more commonly a female disease, breast cancer can affect men, as well.

It’s important to be aware of one’s body. That means knowing if any changes occur, and knowing if something just “doesn’t feel quite right.”

The American Cancer Society recommends women ages 45-54 have mammograms once a year, and women ages 55 and older shift to every other year, if not at high risk.

A couple of years ago, research findings showed a breast self-exam is often not effective in detecting cancer in its earlier stages — even if a doctor performs the physical exam. However, it is still important for women to know what their bodies feel like and to look for any outward changes in breast tissue. Abnormalities found during a self-exam remain a common reason why a woman makes a doctor’s appointment in the first place.

Staying aware and remaining vigilant of one’s health and well-being should be a given. Doing so will lead to the appropriate steps in making doctor’s appointments, and allow those doctors to provide the best care possible, while also increasing the likelihood of recovery.

The dangers of breast cancer aren’t something to brush off. Every year, breast cancer claims thousands of lives. But every year, there are thousands more who are fighting it head on — fighting for a cure, fighting against the statistics, and most importantly, fighting for loved ones.