Yes I’m a *little bit* pissed. And I’m *quite* emotional. But I feel I have to hold my head up and shout about breast cancer before the end of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I want to shout out to every single person out there that thinks that breast cancer is somehow the pink and fluffy “best cancer” to get.
I’ve been lucky. I know that. I hold my hands up. But not every (man or) woman who is struck down by this cruel disease is as lucky as I’ve been. It still kills around 1000 women every month in the UK. That equates to a death every 45 minutes. So while you’ve been scrolling through Facebook, poof, that’s another one of us gone. That’s the harsh reality.
1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.
1 in 8.
That’s a lot. Look around you. How many girlfriends, female family members, colleagues, teachers, FB friends do you have? Based on those statistics how many women do you know that are likely to be struck down? Your daughters, your mums, your BFFs. You. It’s a scary thought. But for those of us unfortunate enough to be “the one” in that statistic it’s terrifying. The fear will now stay with me forever. I have to find a way to live with that.
Life for me and my family will never be the same again. I’m not looking for sympathy. It’s just fact. The whole landscape of my world has shifted. I feel differently about many things, many people. I’m still not totally sure who I am in this post cancer world. Yes, I know I’m lucky to live to tell the tale. But I’d really rather not have been through the last 10 months and I’m never going to be free from the fear that it might return – but with more teeth next time.
Secondary breast cancer is pure evil. From the moment I heard those “this is breast cancer” words I was terrified of it. I still am. I always will be. Secondary breast cancer (also known as metastatic or advanced breast cancer) is cancer that has spread from the breast tissue and lymph nodes to other parts of the body, most commonly the bones, brain, lungs or liver. There is still no cure. I had a major scare towards the end of chemo when my oncology consultant sent me for a brain scan when he feared my breast cancer may have spread. It hadn’t. I was lucky.
So what can you do to help? Donations are vital. Donations fund research, research saves lives. It’s that simple. So the very least you can do is drop a few coins into a collection tin. Or treat yourself to some new M&S undies – they will donate 20% of pink bra sales during October to Breast Cancer Now.
But above all else get to know your body. Early detection is still the key to beating this. So check your boobs regularly, look out for changes and get checked out by your GP if something doesn’t seem quite right. Talk to your girlfriends about breast cancer, ask them when they last checked themselves. Talk to me, ask me how I found my lump, what it felt like, what to look out for. Find it early.