Fighting breast cancer

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pink, pink, and more pink! The color has been seen everywhere throughout this month in light of breast cancer. October is dedicated to the awareness of this disease that affects both men and women.

Aside from skin cancers, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. In 2009, it was estimated that an average of 126 women out of every 100,000 in the U.s. were diagnosed with breast cancer. It is anticipated that there will be 290,170 new cases of breast cancer in 2012.

"The single most important thing is for women to be aware of their body. You cannot only rely on doctors," said Zada Massey, a breast cancer survivor.

She strongly encourages women to be familiar with their body because of her own experience in discovering she had breast cancer. When diagnosed, she was the first in her family to have any type of cancer.

"I had brought it to the doctor's attention, but he said it was just fine. After just a few months, I noticed a difference in the size of the lump and immediately went to the doctor. On my 48th birthday, I was diagnosed with cancer," Massey said.

Currently, Massey is caring for her daughter who is fighting the disease. She said that the two most important things to have through this struggle is a support system and a positive attitude. If possible, catching the cancer in the early stages is of importance as well.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure recommends that women have a clinical breast exam at least every three years starting at the age of 20, and every year starting at the age of 40.

"I can't even begin to urge women enough to go for their breast exams and mammograms," said Mary Loggins, a two-time breast cancer survivor.

Loggins said that a mammogram saved her life. She was fortunate not to have to go through treatment the first time she was diagnosed with the cancer. Like Massey, she had no family history of cancer.

"After I found out the first time, it was 11 years and one day later that I was diagnosed again with a different type of breast cancer," recalled Loggins.

She encourages women to never watch or wait for anything- -- to just go to the doctor if anything is abnormal.

"I am now well, healthy, and loving life. It's a gift," Loggins said.

Komen.org has tips for women and men on being aware of their body, as well as, informational guides for breast cancer fighters and their families. The website also offers more inspiring stories of women who have fought the fight with courage and won.

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