Feel Up Those Boobs!
It’s October. It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Ladies and Gentlemen, if you weren’t paying attention before then please do so now: check your breast health. I’m sure y’all know that cancer exists and that breast cancer affects a lot of women…that’s not enough. Be informed about the disease and use that information to take care of yourself. You may even be able to assist a family member or friend. First thing’s first about your breast health: an examination. Check out how to do a self-examination courtesy of @mamachell (she posted this video last October on her blog)
Wait, but I said ‘self-examination’ and that gentleman should pay attention too. So that means men shouldn’t be giving ready assistance to their partners? Yep. Sorry. Feel up the boobs another time, gentlemen…and in a less clinical manner. Ladies do your OWN breast examination. You need to know what your boobs feel like so that IF something is wrong, you know. As the video recommends, check your breasts once per month and during the week after your period. Even with a yearly OB/GYN check up, you still need be checking your breast…your doctor doesn’t know the feel of your breast. Sure your doc should catch something that’s obviously wrong but it’s much better that when s/he is doing the exam and asks, “Is this supposed to feel like this?” or “Feel this spot, is this normal?” you’re able to answer with some certainty about your own boobs. I like the word boobs better than breasts.
Why’d I call out the MEN! Well, you need to check yourselves because – *ahem* – men get breast cancer too! Yes, you have breasts too. They just aren’t as developed as they are on a woman. Yes it is rare (less than 1% of reported breast cancer cases and usually in men aged 60 – 70 years old) but it is still deadly. And, as with women, a family history of breast cancer is one of the factors that puts men at risk of developing breast cancer. Deacon Ronnie Thwaites is a breast cancer survivor and he was recently interviewed by The Jamaica Gleaner.
I alluded to it above but cannot stress enough that it is very important to know your family history. I know that older people are private and so won’t like to discuss their health problems, but it is important for you to know what diseases are common in your family. Approach them gently and with respect. They’re old and they may be ill but they still have dignity and pride. Don’t be selfish. Family isn’t the only cause – environment and diet also matter. My grandmother – though not biological – had her first bout with cancer when it invaded her breast. Her illnesses still matters because we were in the same environment for quite some time. So: know your family history, check yourself regularly and discuss with your doctor what screening tests are appropriate for you, and eat well. Be serious and consistent about this throughout the year…October is the spotlight month but cancer can strike at any time. Take care of yourself.
There’s one other thing I want to encourage you to do…you can always wear pink. Yes, sporting that little pink ribbon or a pink shirt, especially during October, is a useful thing. It may seem like a small thing but you never know how that small display may lift a survivor’s spirits. You may not know them but they will see you. Wear pink to show your support for those who have beat this disease and continue to live full lives. Wear pink to show support for those who were just diagnosed and are trying to make sense of it all. Wear pink to show your support for the family and friends of those who are doing their best to support their loved ones. Wear pink to remember those who fought hard but did not make it.
For more information (on breast cancer or support groups) or to support fundraising to find a cure –