Breast Cancer Awareness and Prevention Month
As Children of God, and Stewards of the Bodies He gave us, Jesus calls us to not only take care of our bodies through healthy diets and exercise, but through actively taking a role and part in our overall health, through recommended annual screenings, and physical examinations. These activities ought not to be feared, for they serve the purpose of early detection and continued health promotion.
This October, we celebrate and promote Breast Cancer Awareness and Prevention, specifically focusing on the concept of prevention through early screening and self-
However, to correctly understand the role early screening and self-examination plays into prevention, we must understand as much as possible about Breast Cancer and how it develops.
How Breast Cancer Develops
The BRCA Gene: The BRCA gene, also known as the Breast Cancer gene, is a set of two genes, named BRCA 1 and BRCA 2, that reside within all humans, both male and female. Although these two genes carry the name “Breast Cancer Gene” these two genes do not directly cause Breast Cancer when they are healthy. It is when one or both of these BRCA genes become “mutated” or debilitated within the body, it is then that the now mutated genes trigger the growth or start of Breast Cancer.
Once mutated, the genes can then pass down through generation to generation, sometimes skipping a generation or two. If you or someone in your family has been diagnosed, or has had Breast Cancer, then the chances of your children or relatives being diagnosed is also a possibility.
The Need for Breast Cancer Screening
Breast Cancer can develop in anyone at any time. However, the chances of it developing in females due to their natural hormonal structure and bodily organs, specifically the breasts, are much higher. Research has shown that this chance is highest from age 40, with new evidence even suggesting it can occur even before age 40. However, as it currently stands, the majority of medical recommendations point to a focal starting point of 40 years of age. Due to this possibility of mutation of one of the two BRCA genes that reside within our bodies, doctors recommend monthly physical exams of your breasts to detect new lumps or abnormal cysts.
How to Self-examine Yourself
To perform your own breast examination, doctors recommend doing so in the shower, roughly 1-2 weeks after your monthly cycle. Actively palpate and feel around the upper and lower areas, looking for any lumps that do not feel natural or any deep fissures that were not previously present. Even if you find a new object, this does not mean you have Breast Cancer, as many lumps are found to be benign (not harmful) but it is still advised that you follow up with expert consultation.
Performing a self-examination about 1-2 weeks after your cycle is important, as this will prevent any false positives that can occur due to hormonal imbalances that fluctuate during this time.
The breast can also develop small lumps and become more firm or tender during your cycle, so doctors don’t recommend you examine for lumps or abnormalities until at least a week after your cycle had completed.
Self-examinations are an excellent way to find something abnormal within your body, but there is no substitute for professional screening. You must meet with your doctor and schedule a mammogram. Please do not skip this important activity. Mammograms should start at around 40 years of age and should continue to be done once every 1 or 2 years depending on what your doctor advises.
The Goal of Active Prevention
Active Prevention is in line with keeping your body healthy and in tune with our moral and Christian principles. As Jesus wants you to be healthy and live long fulfilling lives, we must work towards early detection with appropriate scanning and examinations as per you and your health care provider.
Don't be afraid to touch and examine yourself. Many cases of Breast Cancer have been found by due diligence from thousands of women who actively engaged in their role of being fervent about their health. Learn to recognize subtle changes in your body. Stay up to date and informed about all things Breast Cancer.
Remember, early detection saves lives.
The Seventh Day Adventist Church endorses healthy minds and healthy bodies in Christ. Let us embrace and encourage our Sisters as we work towards preventing Breast Cancer. October is Breast Cancer Awareness and Prevention Month.
“Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.” 3 John 1:2 (English Standard Version).
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (English Standard Version).