October 10, 2020 10:15 AM | by Jasmine Kamal
Fustany Talks: Breast Cancer Awareness Helped Control My Fear From It
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Do I have breast cancer? Is that why I’m in pain? How could I find out? How am I going to tell my mother? Don't worry, I'm fine. Only, these were the questions that ran through my mind whenever I felt breast pain when I was seventeen years old. I admit that at the time I did not have sufficient knowledge on breast cancer, and awareness campaigns were not as common as today. Even the women in my family were afraid to talk about it, and they always dealt with it as a predatory beast that should not be mentioned at all. The only solution for me was to do some Google research for any information related to breast cancer or the pain I was feeling, and of course my fear and anxiety started multiplying.
That was the case until I decided that I could not keep living with this constant fear. I am usually a person that doesn’t give in to fear and I’d rather face and confront the issue than sit waiting. So I decided to look in the right places for everything related to breast cancer, from specialized medical websites to medical programs that are dedicated to breast cancer awareness, throughout the month of October, which is called Pink October. I also began to look for those who had gone through an experience like this, in order to learn how they found out and what their journey was like. Although hearing things can cause a lot of worry, knowing things in advance gives you a measure of reassurance that makes you feel somewhat always ready. For example, I used to think that all women who get breast cancer should have a mastectomy, but later I learnt that this does not happen to everyone. The methods of treating breast cancer vary and depend on its type, grade, stage and size. So that was another misconception I had.
Also, during my journey to bring more awareness of breast cancer to myself, I realized that breast pain does not mean you have cancer. As women and girls, we feel breast pain, before and during the menstrual period, during puberty, exercise and after childbirth.
When I turned 18, I committed to doing an at home breast self-examination once a month, so that my mind wouldn't get suspicious again. And I still do until now, I am now 27. I am also becoming more and more committed to my health, maybe not in the best way but I'm trying. Two years ago, I started seeing a gynecologist once a year as a form of periodic checkup on my health. Of course, I will not deny that I am still scared of breast cancer, and is there a woman who isn’t?! But again knowledge gives you a measure of safety and relief.
How to do a breast self exam at home?
Main Image Credits: Ask.fmf
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