October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and is traditionally known as the month where everyone wears pink and talks about it. But honestly, breast cancer awareness is one of those things where awareness should be brought to it every month. Breast Cancer does not see color, age, or recognize months. It can hit men and women at any given time.
When I was 14, I found a lump in my left breast. At first, I kind of ignored it. When I went to the doctor, I then found out that it was abnormal and she suggested that we wait about a month to see if anything changed. A month later, I went back to her and there in fact had not been any change at all and she referred me to a specialist at a local hospital. Here, I underwent my very first mammogram. The mammogram showed that I did have a golf sized lump in my breast and recommended that I have it removed. Imagine being 14 and hearing that you have a lump in your newly grown breasts, and you needed surgery. Of course my mind started going all over the place. I did not know what to do or what to expect.
The doctor explained how the surgery would go and we scheduled a date. The surgery was successful. The lump was removed and sent to be tested. Prayerfully, the results revealed that the lump was benign. My doctor then taught me the importance of performing breast self-exams. Self-exams are very important to perform, especially in younger women and men, because mammograms are not recommended until you hit age 50 and even then, they are only recommended every two years. Imagine how much can happen in two years.
The amount of people diagnosed with breast cancer is steadily rising. 1 in 8 women are diagnosed with breast cancer. Black women between ages 20 and 59 have the highest rates of diagnoses. Among men, black men have the highest rates, (2.7 out of 100,000). Black men statically have a lower chance of recovery. Black women have a 31% mortality rate, the highest rate in the US.
As a young adult, I urge you to perform breast self-exams every month and talk to your doctor if anything seems out of the ordinary. Self-exams are easy to do and take only a few minutes to perform. Here is a great resource that explains how to perform a breast self-exam in 5 steps. https://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/testing/types/self_exam
Although my lump was benign, I regularly perform breast self-exams to make sure that if I fall victim to catching this disease, I can catch it early enough to beat it.