Monday, November 9, 2009

Breast Cancer Awareness Year

While Breast Cancer Awareness month has come and gone, it is really vital that people be aware of this devastating disease year-round. Breast cancer affects everyone because, although the majority of its victims are female, the disease is also devastating to husbands, fathers, sons, and any man who has a woman in his life. And one out of 100 men get breast cancer, too.

And so, here are my tips for year-round health-care vigilence. Some have been stated before in my previous blogs, but one cannot emphasize them too much. So, here they are:
  • Do a breast self exam every month. This includes not only feeling for lumps, but doing the "mirror test," which is where you look in a mirror, raise your arms and look at your breasts to ensure there are no unusual flags, such as dimpling, puckering, inverted nipples, etc. It was the mirror test that saved my life.
  • If you find something unusual, even if you don't think it's a big deal, get it checked out as soon as possible. It's better to have it checked out and it be nothing than not to check it out at all.
  • Fire any doctor who tells you that you are too young, too old, to nice, etc. for cancer. They are not taking your concerns seriously.
  • After a mammogram, ask the technician and the radiologist if your breast tissue is dense. If the answer is "yes," then it's most likely difficult to see any possible abnormalities. Go to your primary care physician, or your gateway doctor, to get an order for an MRI or ultrasound. 
  • Eat right and exercise. Healthy living really doesn't prevent cancer, but it does help promote good mental and physical health. And that's always a good thing.
Beth L. Gainer is a professional writer and has published numerous academic and magazine articles, as well as an essay on her breast cancer experience in the anthology Voices of Breast Cancer by LaChance Publishing. She writes about a potpourri of topics, including motherhood and her Chinese adoption experience at, and her cat Hemi blogs at Beth teaches writing and literature at Robert Morris University in the Chicago area. She has a guest posting on The World's Strongest Librarian at

She can be contacted at and



  1. I need to get better at all these thing you listed. Thank you for the gentle reminder! Im sure you were floored when diagnosed bc no one ever thinks "it will happen to me." but, it has to happen to someone right?

    btw, I just realized that we've been visiting each other's blogs for a YEAR. a year?!?!? can you believe it? I only know bc i posted something about my bday and i linked to my post LAST year about my 40th bday and there were 2 little comments there - one from my cousin and one from YOU :)> anyway, i couldnt believe youve been reading me loyally for this long, despite the fact that im so completely UNinteresting! :) I wish I had an award of loyalty to give ya :)

    just thought that was a trip :) hugs!

  2. I can't believe it's been a year, too!! The reason I'm so loyal to your blogs is that they are truly excellent. You are a first-class writer, and I find your blogs, well, addictive.

    Thanks for all of your support. And you've been just as loyal to my blogs!!