Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Eric Stevenson's Guest Blog on Breast Cancer

Eric Stevenson recently emailed me and asked if he could be a guest contributor to my blog. Of course, I was happy to do so. Here follows his blog.

Battling Breast Cancer
Statistically, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Almost everyone has a friend or family member that has or will have the disease. Science has come a long way in treating breast cancer, so this diagnosis is no longer fatal in every case. The prognosis for a more favorable outcome begins with detecting breast cancer early and choosing to battle breast cancer in your own way.
Taking a proactive approach with regular checkups, self-exams, and a family history of breast cancer will help you and your physician detect breast cancer early and select the right treatment options. The same is true with other cancers, like mesothelioma. For people exposed to asbestos, especially from the 1930s through the 1970s, it is important to have regular checkups and let your physician know you may be at increased risk of developing this rare cancer.
Methods of Early Detection
Caught in the earliest stage, the prognosis for surviving breast cancer is good. More treatment options are available, and continuing to lead a normal life is possible. You can help yourself to notice the early signs of breast cancer, using these methods:
• Monthly self breast exams
• Yearly mammograms
• Regular medical checkups
• Participation in local free health fairs
• Genetic testing

The first four methods for early breast cancer detection are self explanatory. Most women are aware these methods are available. Genetic testing, however, is a relatively new procedure developed to determine if a woman is more likely to develop breast cancer in her lifetime. The test is not recommended for every woman. But, for a select few, the genetic testing is a lifesaver.
The Mayo Clinic wrote an article about the social and emotional impact of genetic testing, explaining that, while genetic testing is not right for every woman, those with a significant history of breast cancer within the family are appropriate candidates for this type of testing. For example, a sibling or daughter of someone who has had breast cancer may opt to have the test and discover if she too carries a mutated BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene. This knowledge provides information that helps patients and physicians fight breast cancer, as well as a serving as a potential tool for earlier detection.
Battling Breast Cancer Your Way
Individuals do not have to be breast cancer survivors to take up the cause in battling against this dreaded disease. Increasing breast cancer awareness and raising money to help fund further research or help offset a patient’s medical expenses can be a fun way to draw the community together for a common goal.
On the blog, Battling Breast Cancer with Class, a group of men recently decided to walk a mile in high heels and dresses, as a means of improving breast cancer awareness. The idea is a pun on the expression “walk a mile in her shoes”. It is a humorous way to fight a humorless issue, while encouraging the community to get involved.
Others have donated their hair to an organization called Locks of Love, as a show of support for women who have lost their hair to cancer treatments.
Early detection of breast cancer can mean a better prognosis and allow survivors, friends, family, and the entire community an opportunity to battle breast cancer together.

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