Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Right Doctor, in the Right Place, at the Right Time??

My husband and I have been dealing with medical issues for quite some time now, totally unrelated to breast cancer. We have both FINALLY found doctors that are listening to us, and we feel our issues are soon to be resolved. But, the lastest set of appointments got me thinking - what if we had gotten to these doctors sooner? Would I be facing surgery now or could that have been avoided?

The answer for many breast cancer victims, is that surgery is sometimes the only way to go. But, there are ways of finding the right doctor in the right place at the right time that may make surgery less evasive and survival more likely. You might be asking yourself: How do I do that?

The answer is simple: If you are a woman and you have a birthday every year, you need to rely on breast cancer detection. The earlier it is detected, the better the chance of survival. Now, you may be asking yourself: how do I detect breast cancer?

Here is yet another simple answer: the Susan G. Komen Foundation is educating everyone they can reach about how to detect and survive breast cancer. They provide resources, such as an online breast cancer self exam tutorial (in both English & Spanish), informational filers on breast cancer facts, risk factors and detection methods. Best part: all of this information is in one place: The Susan G. Komen Toolkit!

Now, while eveything is in one place, how does the Susan G. Komen Foundation reach every woman on the planet? Well, they made it part of my job as a walker is to educate people at risk about breast cancer. Being that the biggest risk factors are being a woman and having birthdays, I need to educate every woman I know. I have to point them in the way of the toolkit (Click here!!) and let them know that the older you get, the higher the risk. I need to tell them that the odds of getting breast cancer in a lifetime are 1 in 8.

But, I can point to the website, pass out fliers, and demonstrate breast self exams until the cows come home, but it won't work unless the danger of breast cancer is taken seriously. It isn't taken seriously until it is understood that you risk death if not participating in detection! In simple terms: you could die unless you feel your boobies. Seems so silly when I put it like that, but it is the truth. You cannot rely on your doctors for this either, because they don't know your body well enough to detect the tiniest changes in your breast tissue. The only person who knows your breast tissue is you!

Here are some tips about Breast Cancer Detection: If breast cancer is found early, there are more treatment options and a better chance for survival. A mammogram can find breast cancer before it can be felt. However, it is not perfect. But, when mammography is combined with clinical breast exam, your chances for find cancer are greater. (Source: http://ww5.komen.org/uploadedFiles/Content_Binaries/806-374a.pdf) So, be sure to feel your boobies (or have your significant other do it for you - more fun that way!), schedule your mammograms, and talk to your doctor about your risk factors!