Breast Cancer, Early detection saves lives

Leah lived a happy and normal life, until one fateful day in 2012. Married to a loving husband, they had been blessed with three exceptional children and she had a sustaining  job too as an accountant in a private company locally.

For a few months, Leah had been experiencing mild pains and swelling on her right breast. The inflammation on her breast did not worry her; she was okay ignoring the problem until she went for a check-up one day.

Upon visiting a general health Practitioner, she was diagnose with mastitis and prescribed basic medication. A few weeks later, Leah started feeling persistent pain which prompted another hospital visit. In the second visit,  breast cancer was detected, and thas was the beginning of her long cancer battle.

After a couple of radiation therapies and all medical assessments, Masectomy was imperrative according to the oncologist. Leah would lose one of her breast.

Even beyond mastectomy, she had to continue treatment and go through radiation to help contain the cancerous cells in her body.  Leah thought her troubles were over, and once she completed the medication, she would be cancer-free and ready to live her life fully once again.

Three years after her first mastectomy, she got the news that shocked her life and created more turmoil in her life. The cancer was back this time, affecting her left breast, and it was critical. She had to consider another mastectomy, leaving her devastated and more depressed.

“There is something about losing your breasts like a woman, it comes with a sense of identity loss. Cancer breaks you, and more often than not depression settles in,” she explains.

Leah’s story is one amang many we hear or read about. Breast cancer has taken the lives of many men and women in the world today, and it continues to wreak havoc in individual lives and families

Cause for alarm

It causes tissue complications, resulting in a lump or mass. The cancer of the breast begins in the milk glands (lobules) or in the ducts (connects the milk glands to the nipple).

Kenya records about 6000 breast cancer cases annually, and it is the leading type of cancer in the country. It has an estimate of 12.5% of all cancer cases in the country and attributes to 7.7% of cancer deaths. In Kenya, 7 women die every day due to breast cancer.

Globally, breast cancer affects about 2.1 million women every year and attributes to the most significant number of women deaths. In 2018, approximately 627,000 women died of breast cancer, which accounts for 15% of cancer deaths globally.

Causes of Breast Cancer

There are several causes of breast cancer which have been certified by the World Health Organization. The top causes of breast cancer are failure to breastfeed, stress, air pollution, delayed pregnancy, and lack of sleep. Due to these causes, career women are said to be at a higher risk of developing breast cancer than housewives.

Apart from these leading causes, there are several other causes which may cause the occurrence of cancer in the life of an individual. A familial history of breast cancer increases the chances of someone getting the disease. 5-10 per cent of total breast cancer infections are attributed to hereditary cases from parents with mutated genes.

Late menopause and early menstruation are other causes of cancer. Menopause after the age of 45 is risky to women, as well as the age of a person when they get their first menstrual period. Obesity and birth control pills are also factors that may attribute to women getting cancer.

Early detection of the disease is a critical step for the cure of breast cancer.

Treatment

There are different types of treatments for breast cancer. These treatments include targeted therapy, bone directed therapy, surgery, hormone therapy, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.

Different treatment types are used for different kinds of cancers. Tumours are treated with chemotherapy and hormone therapy to help in the reduction of the sizes. Other forms of treatment may be used in different cases to assist in the treatment while others may be rejuvenated to help ensure that the disease does not occur again, this is called adjuvant therapy.

Early detection of the disease is a critical step for the cure of breast cancer. Awareness of the disease helps in preventing more fatalities, and early detection is the only way in which they can be avoided.

Women and men are advised to go for regular check-ups to help in early detection of the disease. Cancer does not necessarily mean the end of life for you once you are diagnosed. It can be the beginning of a new one, and the awakening of life never experienced before.

As we come to a close of Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October), we push for more openness about breast cancer. We urge our men and women to turn up in great numbers and get screened. It is never too late to start, who knows this miight just be your saving grace.

Don’t wait for that lump because it does not have to be there for you to have cancer. So, let’s join the world in creating awareness and getting tested too. Early detection and awareness prevent fatalities!

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millicent

An afro-damsel addicted to books and literature. Lead content creator and Assisting Editor at Tsavo Media Group. A free thinker ready to pen different viewpoints on contemporary issues and exiting ideas generally speaking.

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