Did you know that, aside from certain types of skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in US women? Over 210,000 women are diagnosed with it every year, and over 40,000 die from the disease annually. Sadly, this pretty much means that at some point in your life, the chances of you being affected by breast cancer, either personally or through a loved one, is pretty high. I think just about everyone knows someone who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Even if you don't personally know someone, chances are you've thought about the possibilities of getting it yourself and how to avoid it.
How Breast Cancer Affected My Life
My brother and I have different fathers, but I grew up spending a lot of time with his grandmother. I'm not going to lie and say we were particularly close during my childhood, but she was a consistent presence in my life and I do have fond memories with her. She was diagnosed with breast cancer around ten years or so ago, not too long after losing her husband to another type of cancer. She managed to beat it into remission, probably by sheer willpower (she always had a pretty strong will!) and is still alive today. I've also had friends who have dealt with the diagnosis. Too many friends, actually. All are pretty much as different as you can get. One was a conservative, one a liberal. One a mom, one a grandmother, and one without kids. When it comes to fighting cancer, though, it seems to me that they all have a few things in common.
- All were incredibly determined to not be taken down by mutated cells in their bodies. Really, that's what cancer is, right? Mutated cells. Itty, bitty, microscopic cells that don't play by the rules. To beat breast cancer, or any cancer for that matter, you have to remind yourself that you have many more well-behaved cells in your body and you can kick the bad ones' butts!
- They were all empowered to stay strong by their personal support network. Whether you rely on friends, family, or people on the internet that you've never even met in person, I think having a good support network is vital to dealing with breast cancer.
- They all had something to live for.Again, whether it was family, children, or even just themselves and their own future goals, each woman who beat breast cancer had something to live for. I already know what I would live for if the unimaginable happened and I was diagnosed (I am at a higher risk due to my, um, well-endowed chest). That would be this handsome guy here, in one of my favorite photos of him:
A breast cancer diagnosis is scary, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying it was easy for any of these women to deal with it, and I'm not saying they didn't have their moments of wanting to give up or break all the dishes in their cabinet. In the end though, sheer determination can go a long way in the fight against cancer.
Making Strides Against Breast Cancer is the American Cancer Society's nationwide series of walking events to raise funds and awareness to end breast cancer.
“Disclosure: Compensation was provided by the American Cancer Society (ACS) via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of the American Cancer Society (ACS).