As you may be aware, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And, every year around this same time, I post something about it. Well, the only thing different about things this year is that I got to talk about it on my show.
You see, October 5 is a special day for me. It’s the day I lost my mother to breast cancer, and this year marked 10 years to the day of her passing. Before she passed, she fought a long and hard battle for 9 years.
She found the lump by performing a self-exam one morning, and immediately called the doctor. By the time she got in, it had already tripled in size. This was a very aggressive stage 4 breast cancer! So, the doctors took action and performed a radical mastectomy where they removed both breasts and all the lymph nodes around the area. After she had recovered from surgery, they began chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
After all that they threw her way, they thought they had it nabbed. On top of that, she didn’t miss a single day of work! But despite all the hopes and prayers of the doctors, it never really left. Not only did the cancer move into her bones, there were complications from all of the heavy doses of radiation. Ultimately, it wound up causing a great deal of damage to her intestines that had to be removed.
At the time of her passing, she did so in the arms of my father with no breasts and a colostomy bag hanging off of her. In the end, aside from making sure my father was okay, the only thing that I was able to process in my mind was that I would continue to raise awareness.
This year was no different. Instead of putting some words on the screen, I got behind my microphone and talked about it. I also took part in the #RockOutBraOut challenge. Think about it. What brings more awareness than a guy wearing a pink bra?
So what do I want you to walk away with after reading my story? I want you to be aware that breast cancer is real. It affects more than just the person who has it. It affects both women and men.
Here are just a few stats:
- About 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.
- A man’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000.
- For women in the U.S., breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, besides lung cancer.
- Besides skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women. Just under 30% of cancers in women are breast cancers.
- A woman’s risk of breast cancer approximately doubles if she has a first-degree relative (mother, sister, daughter) who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. About 15% of women who get breast cancer have a family member diagnosed with it.
- About 85% of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer.
After all of that, here’s what I want you to do: Check yourself! Check your spouse! If you need help because you can’t afford to get checked, reach out to me and I’ll see to it that you get the assistance you need.