By Sharon Bacon
This year marks the 35th anniversary of the National Breast Cancer Awareness month, a time to educate and raise funds to continue the research for the treatment and prevention of breast cancer. Each October, you can see so many oversized buttons displaying words of encouragement, T-shirts, pink teddy bears, self-care and inspirational books, key chains and more to remind adults to take the easy route and avoid breast cancer treatments by self-examining your breasts and scheduling mammograms. Testing for breast cancer is a routine exam to look inside your breasts for any abnormalities. While higher rates of newly diagnosed cases are found in women, men are not immune to the disease, especially in families with a history of cancer. African American women are not the highest diagnosed group, but have 40% higher death rates.
Next month marks the second year since I completed my cancer treatment. Fortunately, the year I was diagnosed, I followed the advice of my still, small voice and scheduled my past due mammogram, followed by an ultrasound. My tests revealed cancer. I came to terms with the diagnosis after I remembered the biopsy I had in the same breast some 15 years ago. This was merely déjà vu and no big deal, so I thought. After my consultation with a surgical oncologist, I learned that the cancer was in an early stage, small in size, but big in terms of type. There are different types of breast cancers and treatments. My aggressive breast cancer required immediate chemotherapy, a lumpectomy, radiation and a five-year medication to eliminate a certain protein in my body.
I wanted to share my story to encourage everyone to – Eat healthy, balanced meals,
Get regular exercise, Self-examine your breasts monthly, AND GET YOUR MAMMOGRAM.
Early detection saved my life! Also, the compounding realities of COVID-19 made me realize how important it is to manage my diabetes effectively. Underlying conditions are health challenges all by themselves. To contract the virus as well is overwhelming to your body. One or several health conditions can create a tough battle and make you as an easy target for other illnesses. To get my own house in order, I am following my advice and eating healthier, exercising and following the protocols created by the pandemic.
On October 24, Broward Health Medical Center, Women’s Center, will host a cost free mammogram event for the qualifying un- and underinsured community. Special grants are available year-long for mammograms and treatment. Contact the Florida Department of Health at (954) 762-3649 for more information.
Pull out your pink attire, support a pink campaign by participating in a virtual walk (Gilda’s Club – 10/24 to 11/11, register at gildasclubsouthflorida.org or Susan G. Komen – 10/17, register at email@example.com), share your cancer journey with others, join a support/educational group (My Basket of Hope on Facebook), food education and exercise group (the Urban League of Broward County, Living Well program at (954) 584-0777) and praise God each and every day you wake up.