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Breast Cancer Affects Everyone
Breast cancer is not a disease anyone will be able to turn a blind eye to. Everyone needs to be concerned with breast cancer simply because it will affect almost everyone’s life in one way or another. Even if you are not a woman, you most certainly care about one. There are countless mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, teachers, business partners and grandmothers out there who may have to face this disease. Some may ask why they should be concerned with breast cancer if it doesn’t affect them. The simple answer is because it will someday.
|As far as the chances of someone you love being diagnosed with the disease, you may be surprised to know that 70% of those diagnosed have no risk factors. It can literally sneak up on any woman you may love or care for. There are almost 200,000 women newly diagnosed each year. Of those, 40,000 will die from it.
The death rate is declining; but breast cancer is the second most common form of cancer amongst women. For Hispanic women in particular, it is the number on cause of cancer death. Still for other ethnic groups, it is the second most common cause of cancer death. If you love a woman, respect a woman or otherwise rely on a woman, this is reason enough to be concerned. Just knowing a woman with breast cancer is reason enough to be concerned with her care and diagnosis, but sometimes it hits home a little harder. Having a woman in the house get that dreaded diagnosis takes an enormous emotional toll on the entire household. The sheer facts and of treatment and recovery are enough to scare anyone who knows the patient. The entire household will be thrown into total upheaval with the mom or wife undergoing treatment. For most homes, the woman is the cornerstone, the foundation, the main source of support and continuity. While the man and woman may share bread winning roles and household responsibilities, the woman still typically keeps the wheels of the household greased and running. Having her have to face her own mortality is heartbreaking enough. Having to face a family life without her can be terrifying. The emotions, scheduling, and wanting to maintain a somewhat normal family life can be more work than some can handle. The strain on a marriage also goes much deeper as intimacy will forever be changed when the woman is diagnosed with breast cancer. Children can also have a difficult time dealing with the news and outlook for their mom. Some who are older and can understand more of the consequences may help out more and be a viable support system. However, others may have pent up anger brew over and result in acting out. This acting out and self destructive behavior will also add to the stress already present from a breast cancer diagnoses.
The main job of anyone who is faced with having to be there for a loved one with breast cancer is to be a support system. Since you will never have advanced warning, just a moment in time when all was normal then the word ‘cancer’ sends shockwaves through your family dynamics, you will have a limited time to pick yourself up and be there for the patient. Unfortunately, some breast cancer patients still take on the role of caregiver after they are diagnosed. The diagnosis so rattles their loved ones they find themselves consoling and reassuring everyone that they will be fine. This should not be their job. It should be the responsibility of the loved ones to come together and support the woman in their lives. Coming together to be a strong support system can make a huge difference in how a woman will respond to treatment.
While advances in breast cancer treatment are astounding and helping each new woman diagnosed see a light at the end of the tunnel, it is still a devastating illness with life long scars inside and out. A woman is forever changed by the diagnosis. The body of the woman you love or know will also be forever changed. All of these circumstances and loss of control over their own health and destiny can make breast cancer a very difficult chapter in the life of any woman. Regardless of where you come from, your education level, the size of your paycheck, the faith you practice, age or color of your skin, breast cancer can be part of your reality before you know what hit you. For any person out there who has even just one woman in their life they need our love. Breast caner should be a concern for everyone.
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