Hundreds of thousands of women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year – are you one of them? If so, you may have already dealt with feelings of hopelessness, and struggled with the notion that you’re actually strong enough to fight this battle. After all, there are few diagnoses heavier than the c-word. However, you can empower yourself by becoming more educated on breast cancer, who it affects, and how to survive.
The Truth About Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is the second most common form of cancer affecting women. Still, men can get it, too, although their rates are obviously much lower.
It is known that having a close relative, such as your mother, who has been diagnosed with breast cancer can double your risk of developing it yourself. However, everyone, at every time and station in life, can be diagnosed. Older women are more likely to get it, but young women do as well. Even those who exercise daily, never smoke, and eat a perfect diet still get breast cancer.
This is important to know if you’ve been blaming yourself somehow. Assertions made about other lifestyle factors being linked to breast cancer have not been scientifically confirmed, either. If you’ve read that wearing a bra or deodorant may be the cause of breast cancer, set this aside. People who abstain from these things are not proven to have a lower risk of getting cancer than anyone else.
Even those who do have risk factors, genetic or otherwise, often don’t get cancer. Doctors aren’t exactly sure why some women get it, and in any case, now is the time for you to move forward with fighting cancer.
Taking Care of Yourself
You may want to curl into a ball right now, but there are a few things that need to be done right away. If you haven’t already, go ahead and get a second opinion – your doctor won’t mind. You should also ask about seeing a specialist ASAP. Straight out of the gate, get to know your doctors as well as you can, and remain as open as possible for the time being.
The most important thing to remember at every stage is that you are not alone. Begin by reading Breast Cancer Stories – you might be surprised at how much you can relate, as well as how informative the experiences of others are. From there, find a support group that works for you, even if it’s just online.
Finally, you need to lean on people you can trust, even if just occasionally. Tell your partner, family member, or dear friend when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
For all of the heart-wrenching statistics we hear about breast cancer diagnoses, there’s a really important one you should keep in mind. Currently, more than three million women in the United States alone are living survivors of breast cancer. Most of them have seen and experienced enough to look you in the eye and tell you the truth – if they can do it, so can you.