In an environment and culture where breast cancer can be viewed solely as a woman’s problem or a woman’s disease, it may be easier to bury the head in the sand if a woman has detected a lump or unusual coloring or swelling around or on the breast. However such a reaction likely shortens rather than prolongs a precious life. Do not immerse yourself in fear! Remember all that is precious and dear to you and get ready to FIGHT.
First of all, no hesitation. The sooner an irregularity can be investigated the better chance of better success in the event there is a diagnosis of cancer. Although it may seem like going against cultural tradition, do not hold those fears inside. Fears add stress into the equation and cancer loves to grow and spread with stress. Talk to whoever is closest or most comfortable to speak with frankly.
It is okay to have some tears at an initial diagnosis of breast cancer (or any cancer). However, do not, not, not immerse yourself in a “oh woe is me pity party.” You want to win the battle, right? Then gear up for the fight. Yes, cancer takes a fight, starting with empowerment. In spite of how knowledgeable, reassuring and confident a doctor may be, the patient who is informed fights the better war.
Don’t be hesitant, afraid or shy to ask questions. Understand the medications and possible side effects, the treatments and what they are expected to do and ask what you as a patient can do to keep yourself strongest. While rest is necessary during cancer treatments, so are forms of exercise to keep your body strong and muscles taut.
If there is not a support group in your area where you can share and learn from others in similar conditions, go online. There are many reputable support groups with valuable information and encouragement. The American Cancer Society provides support groups and www.inspire.com is another good place for information and sharing.
I cannot stress enough that a fight against cancer is easier won when going against the tradition of reticence and privacy.
I continue to fight my own battle with breast cancer and I’m determined to win this battle to see my grandsons grow into young boys. If you’d like to assist me and others fighting their battles, please click here to view my Relay for Life page sponsored by the American Cancer Society.
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