Breast cancer treatment has been improving. In fact, the fact that my mom battled cancer for over 10 years may not have been the case in the 80’s or 90’s. But in reality, a surprisingly large number of people don’t know their risk. Did you know the overall lifetime risk of developing breast cancer is 1 in 8. This month is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but we shouldn’t wait for the pink reminders.
I participated in a breast milk study performed in connection with Army of Women. The study tests breastmilk in nursing mothers to further analyze the changes in breast tissue during nursing for any potential indicators. This particular test also requires a previous biopsy. I’ve had one because I have fibroadenomas. As a side note, you can sign up to join the Army of Women and see how you might be able to help in studies, which I highly recommend. Anyhow, along with returning milk samples you had to fill out a questionnaire. One question asks if anyone in your family is BRCA 1 or 2 positive. I actually never heard of it, so I marked ‘no’ and paid it little thought after.
Well after Mommy passed, I just so happened to have a doctor’s appointment. I inquired about it and subsequently saw a breast specialist for regular monitoring of my fibroadenoma as well as for the BRCA test. Since I was pregnant, the doctor decided against testing until I had delivered. Shortly after my little angel was born we went in. I say we because she was in my carrier accompanying me. I waited a few weeks and fortunately the result was negative. I told my husband and my tone confused him, this was a good thing right? Well yes it was, but it also meant Mommy wasn’t predisposed, she just was the 1 in 8.
So remember, don’t put off having your regular mammograms. If you have a family history, talk to your doctor about your risks. And most definitely, do your monthly self exams. If you feel something, ask your doctor. Take your health into your hands, not just this month, but every month.