Chances are…

Complete the following. ‘Chances are that you do not have cancer……………………………’

I am so grateful for the media, whether online or offline. If I go for a breast exam, later this week, as I intend to, it will be partly due to the fuss that has been all over the media throughout this month about Breast Cancer Awareness. While at it, I will also visit the gynae, but that’s a story for another day!

October is breast cancer awareness month.

To mark breast cancer awareness month, the October issue of True Love carries an article where five women candidly talk about their breasts. The article, which makes quite an interesting read covers issues of having ‘too big’ or ‘too small’ breasts, the anxiety that comes with being late bloomer and the love-hate relationships that these women have had with their breasts.

There is nothing much I can say about my breasts myself. They grew when the Home Science books said they would grow and have behaved pretty much as expected so far. Unlike the ladies in the mag, I do not have any fancy name that I call my breasts, though I think it’s super cute that they do!

Over the years, my boobies have metarmorphosized through various stages of development, finally settling at a size which I understand this is the average woman’s bra size…in America  (which doesn’t help coz I am not American). I hope Steadman are taking notes. Instead of boring us with statistics of who may be president in 2030, they can do a research on more matters close to our hearts (literally!) such as these, just for our info.

Perhaps the most important thing my breasts have ever done is to nourish my young ones, which was an amazing experience.I know i use the word amazing a lot in my posts but I can’t find a better way to describe this. Mothers are nurturers and it is a terribly wonderful experience to have another human being living off you!

Every mother knows that when you give birth, milk does not come out of the breast automatically. It is the baby, by suckling, who calls’ the milk. The first moments of suckling therefore can be a little traumatizing for the boobs with the determined infant pulling and tugging, to stimulate the milk ducts. Soon enough however, your boobies get the drift and from then on, every few hours, you will be itching to suckle the baby, literally! And it is actually true that hearing your baby’s cry can make your boobs itch. Also,as I learnt  in a training I attended recently,  the breasts of any woman, who has ever breastfed, still have the ability to produce milk, no matter what age they are or how long ago it is that they used to breast feed. You just need to put a baby on them! Now, those are some of the unsung wonders of the world.

Wikipedia defines Breast cancer as cancer originating from breast tissue, most commonly from the inner lining of milk ducts or the lobules that supply the ducts with milk. Worldwide, breast cancer comprises 10.4% of all cancer incidence among women, making it the most common type of non-skin cancer in women and the fifth most common cause of cancer death. Male breast cancers account for approximately 1% of all breast cancer cases.

According to breast cancer is considered a heterogeneous disease—differing by individual, age group, and even the kinds of cells within the tumours themselves. The most common symptoms of breast cancer, the site adds, are:

  • A change in how the breast or nipple feels – Nipple tenderness or a lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm area.
  • A change in how the breast or nipple looks – A change in the size or shape of the breast or a nipple that is turned slightly inward, In addition, the skin of the breast, areola (you will have to google that, even my spell check doesn’t know! :-)) or nipple may appear scaly, red or swollen or may have ridges or pitting that resembles the skin of an orange.
  • Nipple discharge.

The causes of breast cancer are not known, but some lifestyles may put one at risk like not exercising or consuming too much saturated fats or alcohol. According to the site , for women, early menstruation or late menopause, having your first child at an older age or not having given birth, or taking birth control pills for more than ten years if you are under 35 are also risk factors that could increase your chances of having breast cancer.

Whatever relationship you have with your breasts , breast health is important to every woman and man alike. It is important to get checked or learn how to check yourself by doing a Breast Self Exam (BSE). So mark it on your diary. Whether you have the test done or you do it yourself, remember, in most cases, early detection of breast cancer is what often makes all the difference.

Chances are that you do not have cancer, but why take chances?

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