Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Long, short, round, squashed, flat, poofy, bouncy, saggy, busting out the seams, torpedowee, young, old, wrinkled, firm, milkful, empty, breasts, boobs, milk cartons, jugs, hooters, dirty little pillows...name it what you will, but its all the same. We all have them, young and old, short and tall, fat and thin. I love mine, even though I can just about tuck them into my...ah, nevermind, TMI. But I'm not going to talk about breasts. No, I'm going to talk about something way more important.
Way back a long time ago, I battled cancer and won. I briefly mentioned bits and pieces of this war in various posts. Yes, this is a cancer post, but it's not going to talk about puking and hair loss. I promise, I will get to the puke some other post, this post is more important. When I first began chemo, I was a very angry cancer patient. I was totally pissed off at breast cancer patients. You see, I had Leukemia. It was in my bone marrow all over my body, and those "breast" people just had it in one little ole place. Not only was it in just one little ole place, but they could get it cut out...they could get it removed...they could have radiation, take aim and burn the sucker out even. Not only that, they even had their own "Breast Cancer Awareness" month. Their OWN month. And if none of the above mentioned worked, they could get the thing cut off. I couldn't. No, it just ebbed and flowed throughout my blood system, doing its thing. What was their problem? They had it easy.
Was I dumb.
Was I ever stupid.
There can never be enough awareness. There can never be enough funding. There can never be enough education. There can never be enough searching for the cure. Breast Cancer is a killer. It is a vicious killer. It is a painful killer. And there is no easy cure. There is no guarantee. And the cure isn't always permanent. And throughout my time being treated for my own cancer, I learned this. And I, the angry breast cancer envious cancer patient, was humbled.
Not counting some kinds of skin cancer, breast cancer in the United States is
The most common cancer in women, no matter your race or ethnicity.
The most common cause of death from cancer among Hispanic women.
The second most common cause of death from cancer among white, black, Asian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaska Native women. 1
In 2005 (the most recent year numbers are available):
186,467 women and 1,764 men developed breast cancer.
41,116 women and 375 men died from breast cancer
Risk factors that increase risk of breast cancer include
Being younger when you first had your menstrual period.
Starting menopause at a later age.
Being older at the birth of your first child.
Never giving birth.
Personal history of breast cancer or some non-cancerous breast diseases.
Family history of breast cancer (mother, sister, daughter).
Treatment with radiation therapy to the breast/chest.
Being overweight (increases risk for breast cancer after menopause).
Long-term use of hormone replacement therapy (estrogen and progesterone combined).
Having changes in the breast cancer-related genes BRCA1 or BRCA2.
Using birth control pills, also called oral contraceptives.
Drinking alcohol (more than one drink a day).
Not getting regular exercise.
These facts can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/
Now that you've finished listening to me, there is someone else I'd like for you to visit. Many of you probably already know her. She's pretty famous, and for you SiTS gals, she's a Welcomista. Breast cancer has touched her life, as I'm sure it has touched many of you. We all know someone: friend, family member, co-worker, that has fought breast cancer. She is fighting back. Please, take the time to go to Chicken Nuggets of Wisdom and hear what DiPaola Momma has to say. It's worth the time it takes to click the link here, or click the title of my post, an active link to her post. Read what she has to say. It's well worth it.