Writer: Nthabiseng Magoma
OCTOBER, now bear with me, I am hoping that you do get this as you continue reading…this is just one month in a year right? Wrong! To those who would like to believe they are ‘cool and relevant, those who are consumed by social media world this is ‘OcSober’. You guessed It. The attempt to go the whole month without alcohol. A bit exciting right?
October is breast cancer awareness month, yes to others it is that important. I am probably one of the first people who were sold on this whole ‘OcSober’ thing until I sadly learnt that it was actually breast cancer that killed my grandmother. After so many years of unknowingly being untruthful when I filed all those doctor’s forms saying no one in my family has had that type of chronic disease. This is an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. While most people are aware of breast cancer, many forget to take the steps necessary to have a plan to detect the disease in its early stages and encourage others to do the same. We have made a lot of progress but still have a long way to go.
Breast cancer is a group of cancer cells (malignant tumor) that starts in the cells of the breast. The specific cause of breast cancer is next to impossible to pinpoint but what scientists know for sure is that breast cancer is always caused by damage to a cell’s DNA. Women with certain risks factors are more likely than others to develop breast cancer. A risk factor is something that may increase the chance of getting the disease (drinking alcohol is a perfect example amongst others like obesity, ‘OcSober’ is not such a bad thing after all) but such risk factors can easily be avoided. While risk factors such as having family history of breast cancer cannot be avoided and no; having this genetic risk factor does not mean I have breast cancer.
It is unfortunate that my grandmother knew little to nothing about breast cancer hence she only discovered in its late stage that she was living with this dreadful disease. But there’s hope! Breast cancer is treatable if found in its early stages. It is however advisable that women learn their body and look out for symptoms such as:
- A lump in a breast
- Pain in the armpits or breast that does not seem to be related to your menstrual period
- Pitting of the breast skin
- Rash around or on your nipple
- Swelling one of the armpits
- An area of thickened tissue in a breast
- If your nipple has discharge or sometimes bleeds
- Size or shape of your breast changes
- Nipple skin may have started to peel or scale or maybe flake
“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
Ignorance is not bliss at all, be aware and take charge of your body, because you own it woman! Allow no space for “should have”, “would have” or even “could have”. Act now because you know better. Mammogramming your boobs will always be more important than Instagramming them.
Facebook: Nthabiseng Magoma
Thank you for educating our community on breast cancer awareness month, Nthabiseng. We here at Education Ambassadors SA appreciate it.
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