Literatus: Breast cancer myths to let go-A A +A
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
“DOESN'T myth belong to everyone?” asked Jennifer Egan in her book, A Visit from the Goon Squad (2010). Or, should we say, “Doesn’t everyone have their own myths?”
It is not unique for Cebuanos to have myths. By golly, everyone in this whole world has his own set of myths. Even the so-called “experts” of science have their own.
Depending on the seriousness of the negative consequences, myths can be deadly to those who refuse to look at their shortcomings. Myths that people have on breast cancer can be as deadly too.
Breast cancer must run in the family. Some forms do if you have that in your family.
But experience in the disease noted that around 85 percent of women who got breast cancer have no family history to check it with.
Age does matter. While breast cancer had been common mostly in women age 55 or older, there had been cases involving young women. So it is better to ensure you have not than to have not known you had it at all.
No lumps, no fear. Most of the time that’s something to cheer about, but there has always been exceptions to such a rule. Mammograms have been known to find small tumors up to three years before the lumps become palpable. These small lumps are treatable, though, if discovered earlier.
No hope for dense breasts. While mammograms may turn out to be less helpful in detecting lumps in an exceptionally dense breast, another option remains available.
Say, ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging, for example.
Healthy lifestyle keeps breast cancer away. A healthy lifestyle does lower the risk for breast cancer or any other cancer. But in an imperfect world, that too cannot eliminate the risk.
Have a regular annual check to make sure. It is always wiser to anticipate breast cancer problems before it becomes untreatable. We don’t want to go to the bus station after the bus had left.
When you feel unsure or afraid to take the first step to have yourself checked, recall this line from Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird (1962): “I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 30, 2013.