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Through my teenage years and in my early and mid-20s, I thought I was invincible. I ate what I wanted without thinking about any consequences, and I often skipped my yearly physicals because I thought that there was no need to go to the doctors if I didn’t feel sick. I packed my days with hours upon hours of doing whatever I felt like, and it wasn’t very often that I stopped and checked my health. Even when my mother would constantly tell me that I need to make sure to keep up with my health and that those yearly visits are going to help me in the long-run, I didn’t listen. Again, that thought of invincibility weighed out any thought of being responsible for my health let alone thinking of breast cancer.
Now that I am a mom, I realize that I need to take care of myself because, now, I have someone that depends on me for almost everything. I couldn’t imagine missing out on anything in his life due to an illness that I could prevent by just going to my ‘well visits’. It’s hypocritical of me to take my son to his well visits on time at each milestone, but not head to mine.
So in honor of it being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I have been inspired by Not One Type to talk about the importance of female health – specifically being knowledgeable about breast cancer.
Breast cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers among women. To look at it statistically, about 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. I have had a number of women in my life, both family and friends, who were diagnosed with breast cancer. And through their experiences, I learned that there is not just one type of breast cancer. When one of my family members was diagnosed with breast cancer, we heard the word ‘cancer’ and originally expected the worst. But it’s important to know that there is not just one type of breast cancer and by knowing the different types, gives those who are diagnosed and the family members around them a better way to understand what is going on and provide love and support.
To differentiate the different types of breast cancer, it is best to know the ‘four S’s’ – stage, status, size, and sub-type. It is from the information in those categories that a diagnosis comes to be and a treatment plan is made by a doctor.
Catching the signs of breast cancer early aids in the treatment that a woman can go through, which is why it is important for women to have their yearly physical.
After about two years of not scheduling that yearly physical, I am now proud to say that I have scheduled mine and will be headed in to have my body and breast checks for any signs. And if there are signs, Not One Type has prepared me to know what questions to ask so I will know my unique diagnosis.