October is breast cancer awareness month and up until six years ago, it was something I heard lots about especially when you would see a sea of pink ribbons everywhere. Did you know that 1 in 8 Canadian women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. Yes, the stats are alarming and that is likely why we have an entire month dedicated to raise awareness to this matter.
It feels like everyone knows someone who is or had been a victim to the disease - be it your aunt, your chemistry teacher, your friend's mom. For me, it was a personal experience the day we found out my mom was diagnosed. We were told to come back for the results of what looked like nothing more than a little speck from her mammogram. That speck later turned into a full mass covering a quarter of her left breast. A routine annual mammography screening soon became a double mastectomy one month later. My mom's decision for the removal of both breasts opposed to trying to remove the visible cancer mass was a surprising one to me. It seemed like it was a no brainer for her, where I tried to convince her that she should think about her options. Her mind was set, it took her a whole two hours to come to that decision. Mind you, it was a very trying time as my dad had been living with terminal cancer so receiving the news about my mom was another blow to our family. When I reflect back on that moment, I realize how strong my mom was and is. She was able to literally detach herself from what she saw was an infected body part and chose to make a decision on a treatment that gave her a better shot of living cancer free without the potential uncertainty of it continuing to spread. Today, those scars are a reminder of how she survived and kick cancer's ass!
As someone who has seen my mom go through the rough stages of breast cancer though, we can promise you that opening an honest dialogue is the first step to defeating the fears of the unknown. Breast cancer is treatable and curable if diagnosed early, and we're lucky to have groups like the Canadian Cancer Society and the BC Cancer Foundation for their continuous efforts on finding better solutions.If you have anything personal you'd like to share, comment below and we'd be happy to hear them!
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