This is October, the breast cancer awareness month, this post is coming late but we still have 2 days left in the month. I and other bloggers from Lagos, Abuja and Ibadan have collaborated to raise awareness and educate the public on breast cancer targeting the Nigerians. All thanks to Larisa and Winifred for planning this campaign Now let’s get down to the business of the day. Cancer is an abnormal growth/division of cells, this growth affects the cells that are normal by crowding them, this in turn affects the function of the normal cells. The abnormal growth could be fast or very slow. Also, it has stages showing how widely spread/bad the cancer is. It goes from Stage 1-4 , 1 being the lowest. This helps the doctor know the course of treatment to administer to the patient. Breast cancer is the cancer of the cells of the breast, it occurs in both women and men, yes men but women are at higher risk. To know more about breast cancer in men, check out this article. This awareness is not just for women but men too, so men, BE AWARE!! What then causes breast cancer to occur? There is no conclusion yet as to what may cause the cells to divide rapidly, however, the scientists were able to trace it to inherited gene and also risk factors that are associated with the environment and the individual. A few risk factors are:
- Age (risk increases with age)
- Exposure to radiations (such as X-ray)
- Being a woman
- Family history
You can check out more about the causes here. What then are the symptoms?
- Redness of the breast (or an orange like colour)
- Inverted nipples
- Lump or thickness that feels different from the norm on breast or armpit
- Discharge from the nipple (could be bloody)
- Change in skin texture
The quote on my shirt says “there can be life after breast cancer, the prerequisite is early detection”, always check your breasts for any abnormalities and also breast self-examination. In Nigeria, some people are not aware of the dangers of late detection, they wait till it’s stage 4 before approaching the doctor. Some need to be educated on how to examine their breasts. Here is an outline on How to examine your breasts: (extracted from nationalbreastcancer.org)
1) In the Shower
Using the pads of your fingers, move around your entire breast in a circular pattern moving from the outside to the center, checking the entire breast and armpit area. Check both breasts each month feeling for any lump, thickening, or hardened knot. Notice any changes and get lumps evaluated by your healthcare provider.
2) In Front of a Mirror
Visually inspect your breasts with your arms at your sides. Next, raise your arms high overhead. Look for any changes in the contour, any swelling, or dimpling of the skin, or changes in the nipples. Next, rest your palms on your hips and press firmly to flex your chest muscles. Left and right breasts will not exactly match—few women’s breasts do, so look for any dimpling, puckering, or changes, particularly on one side.
3) Lying Down
When lying down, the breast tissue spreads out evenly along the chest wall. Place a pillow under your right shoulder and your right arm behind your head. Using your left hand, move the pads of your fingers around your right breast gently in small circular motions covering the entire breast area and armpit. Use light, medium, and firm pressure. Squeeze the nipple; check for discharge and lumps. Repeat these steps for your left breast. Here is a PDF file on breast self-examination. This should be done every month and if any abnormality is detected, contact your doctor/make a visit to the hospital. Treatment of breast cancer is based on what stage it is. It could be treated surgically which could be removal of the breast tissue which is then followed by chemotherapy or radio therapy. To learn more, visit cancer.org Having cancer is not the end of life, you fight it at the early stage and beat it. If you know anyone battling with cancer, support them and encourage them. Believe God for their healing even if it’s stage 4. Educate young boys and girls, your mates and the elderly to be aware and examine themselves at least once monthly. Live a very healthy lifestyle. Cancer can be defeated, let’s ensure Nigeria becomes aware of this.
Thank you for reading and I hope you’re educated and enlightened. Do share with your friends and family. Ensure you check out the other bloggers posts on breast cancer awareness in Nigeria. Much love guys. Stay tuned for more.
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- Bella iambrownie.com.
- Larisa of larisalefleur.com
- Ifeoma of drapedinbasics.com
- Wumi of wumituase.com
- Lade of ladesblog.com
- Orezi of https://youtu.be/t793QmL16dU
- Boluwatife of https://pribodunke.wordpress.com/
- Leye of https://aojeniyi.wordpress.com/
- Tolu Ajagbe of https://toluajg.wordpress.com/
- Oyinda of http://lifeofdammy.com