Tuesday, October 16, 2018

October is Breast Cancer Month

Did you “Run for the Cure”?  Did you donate to Breast Cancer this month? No I’m not hustling for donations, but I would like to call attention to this month.  It’s Breast Cancer Month. Almost everyone knows someone who has or has had cancer.  Or maybe it’s you, and you’re a survivor. To me it’s very personal. I am a survivor. It’s been many years since diagnosis and treatment. Despite, or maybe because fo mammograms women are being diagnosed younger every day.

Many years ago (no, I’m not going to say how many) I volunteered for a breast cancer study in Canada for women between forty and sixty-five.  I only sneaked in by a few months. You were assigned a number when you volunteered. One set of numbers checked in and filled out a nutritional survey each year. The other side did a nutritional survey and had a mammogram.  I was put on the mammogram side. My second year I flunked out. If you’re diagnosed with cancer you get kicked out of the program. In my mammogram they found a small circle about the size of a dime with about ten pin pricks inside. It was the cancer. They did a fine wire biopsy to confirm it and I had surgery the next day.  If I hadn’t been on that study I probably wouldn’t have been diagnosed for at least another five years.  And who knows if I would have survived at that time. Back then most women who were diagnosed didn’t survive. Apparently some small cancers don’t grow, so maybe mine wouldn’t have got any larger, but honestly, I’m glad they found it and removed it.

Volunteering has positive effects. J (At least in my opinion)

I know there are pros and cons about mammograms.  Pros - They save lives. Mammograms are estimated to reduce cancer rates by 15%. Cons - They cause significant harm. Some will undergo treatment for no reason — because of a cancer that never would have grown. Women will “experience important psychological distress including anxiety and uncertainty for years because of false positive findings. This comes from a report at https://medshadow.org/medshadow_blog/mammogram-pros-cons/ if you’d like to read the whole article.
And some breast cancers are too aggressive and virulent to control or “beat,” no matter how early caught. How and why breast cancer occurs is still an unknown at this time, but a healthy lifestyle can always help.

According to aCancer.Net link the average 5-year survival rate for people with breast cancer is 90%. The average 10-year survival rate is 83%. If the cancer is located only in the breast, the 5-year relative survival rate of people with breast cancer is 99%. Sixty-two percent (62%) of cases are diagnosed at this stage.

Here’s the link to that report.


  1. Testing for cancer can be tricky. Handsome had a biopsy on a lymph node and the results were negative. Surgery showed there was a tumor at the base of tongue. He was almost a stage four. His treatment was tough and the past two years have been tougher as a result of the treatment.

    1. Vicki, I agree that testing can be tricky. I did list a few reasons in the cons and it sounds like those were the ones that affect 'Handsome'. I'm so glad they did surgery and found it. I can only imagine how difficult the last two years have been.