Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Breast Cancer - New Guidelines - Black Women

I'll never forget the day I felt the lump in my left breast. It was a Sunday morning, I was still in bed and I decided to check my breasts. After a moment of wonderment, I knew I had to get it checked out. Not to alarm everyone, I confided only in my husband. My appointment with the doctor who felt nothing during the examination was a bit tense as I insisted that I felt something unusual and at my persistence, he sent me off to have a mammogram.

A few days later, I received a yellow envelope with the words URGENT TELEGRAM. I almost tossed the envelope as I thought it must be junk mail. However, following my inner guide, I opened the letter only to find that it was about my mammogram results. It said that it was an urgent matter and I had to come in right away.

Two days later, I went in for the results and I was told that the mammogram showed that there was indeed something - albeit small, they found something and would like me to have an ultrasound which confirmed that there was indeed something. In fact, it showed that there were two suspicious forms in the breast. Needless to say, I scheduled an operation to have them removed. The greatest relief was having them removed and knowing that I did not allow the doctors to send me home when their examination did not find any lumps. Thankfully, I had a successful outcome. However, there are others who may take the doctors word and left the office, after all they are the experts.

My concerns are also for women who are relieved to hear the new guidelines only to find out later that they have cancer and could have had a successful outcome if it was detected sooner. I often say that your health cannot be defined in a One Size Fits All manner. We are all unique with certain factors that may affect us if not through genetics, it can be environmental or some other unknown factor. There are enough barriers to keep us from taking care of our health.

Wearing a ribbon to bring awareness to a disease that can be treated successfully if found early is a great gesture but it's no longer good enough. Some say there is an over reaction to the new suggested guidelines, I disagree. We need to speak up - our lives depends on it.

The following link discusses further - be informed and share with everyone:
For Black Women, Breast Cancer Strikes Younger

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