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Straight, No Chaser: October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

pink_breast_cancer_ribbon

Breast cancer disturbs me deeply, and if it doesn’t affect you as well, you haven’t been paying attention. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. It’s more likely than not that every single one of us has been affected by this, either directly or through a friend or family member.

Breast cancer is different. We’ve found the way to eradicate certain cancers and have made remarkable progress on others. Aside from the hereditary component, breast cancer seems so…random, so dehumanizing and so debilitating to so many. Unlike so many of the things I address as an emergency physician, breast cancer isn’t like trauma, STDs and many other conditions, where one is often directly suffering the consequences of their behavior. It is vital that you appreciate the need and value for early detection to give yourself the best possible chance for the best possible outcomes. I’ll be discussing all these considerations in detail throughout the week.

I appreciate the sentiment behind a National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but if I could offer you anything on this, it would be a plea to be ‘aware’ every month, and use this month as a (re)commitment to take basic steps that will reduce your risk, a charge to maintain steps for early evaluation and a prod to point you toward prompt treatment if and when needed. In fact, those three areas will be the topics of my next few posts. In the meantime, please share this or other information about breast cancer to any and all females in your life. I also hope you choose to engage your family, friends and others in conversations geared to improving breast cancer awareness. Odds are many of them have been or will be affected by breast cancer.

I welcome your comments or questions.

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