October: Breast Cancer Awareness Month

breast cancer awareness monthA year after graduating high school I received a call from one of my very best childhood friends. The news was troubling, her mother, Catherine, had been diagnosed with late stage breast cancer. Being young and unfamiliar with the severity of the diagnosis or the disease itself, I had no idea the fight Catherine and her family would endure in the months to come. I made it a point to call once a week to check on my friend in regards to her mom’s health but she always seemed to be busy spending time with her mother. This time they spent together usually included some life task that Catherine was teaching my friend be it learning to cook for the family, grocery shop on her own, and tending to her little sisters hair. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary to me as my own mother was instilling similar responsibilities in me in preparation for college and dorm life. As a matter of fact everything in my friends life seemed perfectly normal until one afternoon 3 months later when I received a call from a cousin of my friend notifying me that Catherine had passed away.

I was 18 years old. My friends parents were like my parents,invincible- right? They couldn’t possibly die while we still needed them so. I  rushed over to my friends house where the family was gathered and ran straight to her bedroom. She was laying on her bed staring at the ceiling. I said nothing, climbed in bed with her, held her hand, and joined her gaze toward Heaven, her mothers untimely resting place.

About 1 in 8 (12%) women in the US will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime. Breast Cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, exceeded only by lung cancer. The chance that breast cancer will be responsible for a woman’s death is about 1 in 36 (about 3%). Death rates from breast cancer have been declining since about 1989, with larger decreases in women younger than 50. These decreases are believed to be the result of earlier detection through screening and increased awareness, as well as improved treatment.

Survival Rates of Breast Cancer (by stage):

Stage

5-year Relative
Survival Rate

0

100%

I

100%

II

93%

III

72%

IV

22%

As seen by the above chart, early detection is key. Ladies don’t put off those mammograms! It could be the one thing your family will regret for the rest of their lives.

If you have not had a mammogram this year, please schedule one soon.

Call your local healthcare provider or Nurse Line for a place to have a mammogram done annually.

We need more nurses to educate the public about Breast CA and to work at places were mammograms are done!!

Check out our Gifts for Nurses!!

Nicole M. Brown, MSN, RN

Founder: The Nurse Dolls & Nursing Success College

 

 

 

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