When I was thinking about this post, I realised that I really needed to find out what you guys think and feel about breast cancer. I asked you on my FB page and those are your words up there. It’s sobering how scared breast cancer makes ALL of us.
I know cancer. Believe me.
My Dad died from Melanoma and I was there by his side with my Mum and family for the entire 9 months from diagnosis until his passing. Dave and Ethan and I had moved into my parents house, so when I say I was THERE, I mean, really there and really present.
Like Melanoma, I find breast cancer so scary because it feels to me like there is a weight on my shoulders, an obligation to do what I can to be vigilant as I’m not yet eligible for free mammograms (these are for women 45+). I must be responsible in the sun, I must not let my kids burn, I must initiate good breast checking habits because right now I don’t have any. And that’s not going to save my life.
The unknown is scary. Not knowing what is normal and what’s not, not knowing who to call, when to make an appointment, how to ask for help.
I don’t know how to give myself a breast exam and the truth is, I don’t know why I’ve failed to learn. I’m a smart woman who only takes calculated, well-rehearsed (at least in my head!) risks. But in this instance, ignorance and keeping my head in the sand is the risk.
So I’ve asked myself these questions, but I also want you to consider them and ask your mother, your sister, your daughter, your best friend, your aunt these very same questions;
- When was the last time I checked myself? Hmm, might start doing this monthly after my period, that should help me remember.
- How do I check myself? It’s as easy as Touch. Look. Check. Watch this short clip here www.anychanges.co.nz
- Is it time to start mammograms? If 40 or over, yes, annually.
- I’ve noticed a breast change lately – when can I make an appointment to get it checked out?.
- Did I miss my last mammogram? Better book one.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in New Zealand women, affecting 3000 women every year. 8 women per day. That’s a massive statistic. These days, however, it’s highly treatable if diagnosed early.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and The New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation have compiled a wealth of resources to help us as women navigate this lifelong commitment to breast health awareness. Early detection is something we must all own personally and take responsibility for.
Here are Six of the Best Breast Tips to get you on track this October
- Check your breasts often – this includes young women in their 20’s. It’s not always a lump – changes to the breast skin, shape, size and nipple can be a sign of breast cancer too. Look at www.anychanges.co.nz
- Get any changes checked out by your GP – they should refer you on for testing.
- Start having regular mammograms once you turn 40. Mammograms save lives – they can find cancer early before you feel it
- Enrol for free mammograms once you turn 45 with BreastScreen Aotearoa on 0800270200. We’re so lucky to have a free screening program, which we owe to previous generations of women who died of the disease.
- Don’t get complacent because your mum’s never had breast cancer. Most women with breast cancer have NO family history of the disease – so it comes as a complete shock; the upshot is that all women are at risk.
- Go easy on the alcohol to reduce your risk as it’s a carcinogen. Regular exercise is also a protective factor.
Text ‘PINK’ to 4644 to donate $3 to October’s Pink Ribbon Appeal and The New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation
- Register now for the October’s pinkest walk in Christchurch – The Estée Lauder Companies Pink Star Walk and raise money to support The New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation.
G I V E A W A Y
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