A huge take-away from my breast cancer experience is the importance of being proactive with my health. I am not a doctor nor am I a healthcare professional. I am simply a breast cancer survivor whose experience could be an advertisement for the importance of being proactive with our health.
Speaking from experience, let me just say we will never regret being proactive. No harm is done in doctors’ visits, screenings and tests. Proactivity won’t leave us with regret. Regret is born of what if, if only and why didn’t I…
Time and time again, in shock and disbelief I was asked the question –
Why did you get this screening at your age?
Quickly followed up in disbelief and surprise with –
Who is your doctor?
I was atypical. The exception.
Even though I had cancer in my 30s I still consider myself incredibly lucky. Why? Because it was caught at stage zero. Literally the earliest possible stage. The best-case scenario for treatment and moving forward.
Most women in their 30s are only undergoing breast exams, not more thorough mammograms, ultrasounds, or MRIs. So most women in their 30s with breast cancer either felt a palpable lump or saw visible changes in the appearance of their breast. Meaning the cancer has already grown and spread. Stages correlate to the spread of cancer.
Stage zero cancer is not palpable. I did not have a palpable lump or any external signs of the cancer growing beneath the surface. My cancer was completely contained. Finding cancer at such an early stage is only possible through more thorough screening such as mammograms, ultrasounds or MRIs. In my case, it was only visible on an MRI.
Early detection is paramount with cancer. I am not one to live in denial or assume I am the exception. Moving forward with my health I won’t skip any screenings. I will have open communication with my doctors and healthcare professionals.
Denial and fear don’t prevent cancer. Denial and fear only prolong the amount of time cancer could be left unchecked to grow and spread. Having cancer once does not give you a free pass to get out of any future cancer.
Cancer is not a one and done. Been there. Done that. Don’t want to go there again. I wish it was, but that is simply not the case.
The path to the best possible outcome begins with early detection. Due diligence pays off. So get the tests. Do the screenings. Go to regular doctor’s visits. Stay on top of your health. Let’s set ourselves up for the best possible outcome by being proactive. We are worth it!