The Cure is Knowledge. At Skate4Cancer, this is what we truly believe. It is so important to share self-examination techniques, and information on living a preventative lifestyle with our friends and family. One thing we don’t address often enough is an understanding of your family health history.
As a personal example, I recently went to the doctor to investigate some chronic chest pain I’d been having. Mind you, I had been having this pain for months and months. I’m a terrible hypochondriac, so I cant always gauge when I’m over-reacting to something and when it’s a problem that should actually be looked into.
As a part of my over-all chest examination, the doctor sent me for an ultrasound on my breasts. The results terrified me: there was a fairly significant, solid lump. I bawled my eyes out in a coffee shop after my appointment. I thought to myself, “do I seriously work for an organization promoting frequent self breast examinations and not properly apply them to myself”. The irony got me crying even more. I was stressed and afraid for three weeks before my next appointment.
Luckily for me, my visit to the breast cancer clinic showed my lump to be a fibroid. I may still have to have surgery to remove it, but for the time being its a benign tumour. I almost bawled my eyes out again with relief.
After all was said and done, I spoke to my mother about it. She shrugged it off and told me that every woman in my family has a fibroid breast condition, meaning we’re pretty prone to getting them. I couldn’t believe that she had never mentioned this to me.
“Wouldn’t it have been helpful for me to be aware of this?”, I asked.
“Well, you never asked,” she said.
LESSON LEARNED. I interrogated my mother about our family health history afterward. Although we have no history of breast cancer, I will have to approach any future lumps with caution - you can never be sure.
And so, though I didn’t have cancer, I did inherit an unfortunate health trait from my family members. One that I need to be conscious of. Are you familiar with your health history? If you have access to blood relatives, familiarize yourself with health concerns you may need to be aware of. Knowing what you may be genetically susceptible will encourage you to remain aware and active in preventing it.
Second lesson learned - never wait to visit the doctor when you have a health concern. My chest pain turned out to be linked to caffeine intake. I could have continued to drink 3 cups of coffee a day, blindly suffering the whole time.
Inform yourself. Ask questions!
Take charge of your own health.