Breast Cancer Awareness…
The fear of getting any kind of cancer is universal.
But breast cancer can be especially frightening for women 1) because of the prevalence of it 2) the statistics of getting it and survival rates and 3) because breasts also represent such a strong symbol of femininity throughout the world.
While there isn’t a strong history of breast cancer in my family (thank God) that doesn’t mean that I’m not scared about getting it and so I want to inform women about the dangers of this disease, and I also want to show the resilience of the women who battle breast cancer, and who go on to inspire and empower not only people fighting cancer, but everyone.
Being breast aware means knowing your breasts and what is normal for you – and this is extremely important. Early detection is the key to overcoming any cancer, but with breast cancer, there is an advantage to be able to regularly check for any lumps.
The word “cancer” still has a taboo surrounding it. When people hear that someone has the “C” word, the first thing that enters their minds is death, and it produces a great sense of powerlessness. But that shouldn’t be the case, even if you do hear that it is at stage four, because there are many people surviving it at this very moment, and not only fighting to live, but believing that they can.
Like with any disease, cancer will change you. Some ways may be bad, but others can be good. One thing that I’ve learned during my research for this blog, is cancer will redefine your life, and in many cases it has helped people see what they truly have much clearer. It can make you live your life to the fullest, and this seems especially true for women who have breast cancer.
It’s like a sisterhood, where everyone supports each other and their medical journeys.
There are many inspiring stories of women who have experienced or are currently going through their own personal breast cancer journeys. Waking up in the morning feeling completely normal, is something we all take for granted. It’s summed up really well on a breast cancer blog called Kickingtheshiteoutofcancer.com (love the name!), where Dee described waking up and not feeling sick, like winning the lotto. I found this blog extremely useful, as it went through every stage of Dee’s cancer battle – all the ups, and all the downs. One of my favourite blog entries is titled “Benefits of Having Cancer”, which contains a list of the many benefits Dee sees cancer has brought her; from “everyone thinking she is amazing” to the “lovely phone calls from friends Far and Wide” and feeling like every day was her birthday from all the love and support.
Breast cancer has had increased awareness with actress Angelina Jolie being so open about being diagnosed with the BRCA1 gene, which nearly all the women in her family had. Women who possess either the BRCA1 or BRCA2 have an increased risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer. Angelina has written publicly with two articles about her preventative journey in the New York Times, which many found inspiring, including myself – [I recommend you give them a read!] Discovering that you have these genes which basically guarantee that at some point in your life that you will get cancer, would be terrifying. But Angelina found a beauty about being diagnosed with the BRCA1 gene, stating “The beautiful thing about such moments in life is that there is so much clarity. You know what you live for and what matters. It is polarizing, and it is peaceful.” Taking measures into your own hands and taking drastic preventative measures to decrease your chances of getting cancer is extremely courageous, changing your body forever for to protect yourself from your own body.
The scars left behind from a battle with breast cancer, whether that be preventative or life-saving, can be both physical and psychological. In a powerful way to reclaim what they have lost, many women are tattooing their post-mastectomy breasts with beautiful and personal designs. The personal ink project or P.Ink main goal is to “connect breast cancer survivors with tattoo artists who can provide a form of healing that no one else can”. Their slogan, which I love is “that breast cancer doesn’t have to leave the last mark.” The permanent scars left behind by a breast cancer battle aren’t there because a women chooses them to be there, but these permanent and inspiring tattoos are something a women can chose to have, to reclaim the main battlefield of cancer. We need more projects like these, so people who are effected by cancer aren’t defined by it, but can grow past the trauma of cancer, and become themselves again.
Breast cancer awareness is vitally important, but so it empowering the survivors of it. From my research I can see that women who get diagnosed with breast cancer join an inspiring sisterhood that can take on not only cancer but the world.
And while a lot of people talk about the illness of breast cancer, it’s also really important to talk about what breasts represent to us, as women. To be honest, I love my breasts, they’re one of the parts of my body I really love, and just even losing them terrifies me!
That is one of the many reasons why I regular check my breasts for lumps, because this simple act could save my breasts, and more importantly, my life.
Thanks so much for reading,
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