Dear sisters and friends:
There is so much we can do to prevent breast cancer! I just returned from a 3-day retreat full of lots of great information from experts in their fields. In October, in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness month, I will be sharing the best of what we know about preventing cancer or a recurrence.
But today, in honor of all the pink ribbons, shoes, hats, etc. that will be worn in October to raise awareness, I’d like to talk about early detection. The disease can strike at any age for any woman–I’ve heard of it as young as 19!
Regular screening needs to be done. The sooner you find and deal with cancer, the easier it is to treat, and the better your outcome is.
Breast self-exams are the best place to begin. Teach your daughters from their teen years forward to examine their breasts after their monthly period. (If you are post-menopausal, do your own self-exam on the first of every month.)
Many women find it helpful to do this while showering, and they hang the breast exam card in their shower as a reminder. (You can get the cards at your doctor’s office or breast cancer treatment center. They are free. Please get one and use it.)
Continue to do these exams throughout pregnancy. Please!
Whenever you feel a lump, make an appointment with your gynecologist or breast specialist. Do not delay. If they pooh-pooh it, you have every right to ask them to do a mammogram and an ultrasound to be sure. If you take one thing away from today’s email, remember this: Every woman needs to have any breast lump examined and followed by your health care professional.
Early Detection Has 100% Cure Rate!
The good news is when breast cancer is caught early, it is about 100% curable (cancer.org).
When I felt a lump, I had an ultrasound first. I had yearly mammograms, but with dense breast tissue, it was impossible to see the tumors even after the doctors knew they were present.
So how did they know I had breast cancer? The surgeon who did my ultrasound drained the lump I was feeling, and then did another ultrasound right then. He noticed a dark area under the benign lump and said the “right” words: “I think it’s going to be nothing, but LET’S NOT TAKE A CHANCE. I’d like to schedule you for a biopsy of that area JUST TO BE SURE.”
Thank God he did! I was feeling a benign larger cyst, but the dark area he saw underneath was actually 13 cancerous tumors!
That was 18 years ago, dear sisters. You can read the rest of the story here: Thriving in God’s Love.
Important Screenings to Have:
Do self-exams, have yearly mammograms as recommended, and be an advocate for your own health and well-being. Every insurance plans offers a “free to you” physical exam. If you do not have health insurance, local “free” clinics often offer free mammograms and medical exams.
Be proactive for yourself! You are so worth it–just ask God!
“…the Lord you God loves you!” Deuteronomy 23:5c (NASB)
Next week, you will be receiving twice-weekly blogs on Preventing Breast Cancer. These tips will apply to all women, including survivors. (Sisters, once we are cancer-free none of us ever wants to get this cancer again!)
God bless you, my friends.
I’ll be in Flagstaff, AZ, at the Bright Side bookstore (18 N. San Francisco St.) next Tuesday, October 2, anytime from 5-7 for a book signing! (Flagstaff, AZ) Come on by and say hello!