Every person brings unique characteristics to dealing with illness: a particular personality, a way of coping, a set of beliefs and values, a way of looking at the world.
Being ill makes a person feel alone and we should never place blame as this only adds more feelings of distance and isolation.
We know a lot about the ways that our personality and emotions leads us to engage in habits or behaviors that increase our risk of getting cancer.
Good examples are smoking and lung cancer, or sunburn and malignant melanoma.
People today have many questions based on what they’ve read and what their friends tell them about cancer.
Some questions are:
1. Did my personality or emotions cause my cancer?
2. Did stress alter my immune system and caused my cancer?
3. Did grief or a loss cause my cancer, and could it make the cancer come back?
4. When I get down and depressed, am I making my tumor grow faster?
5. How important is support from others?
6. Can support groups help me live longer?
7. How can I help to make my treatment work?
Many people’s first experience with cancer begins with the discovery of a symptom or sign known to be a possible cancer indicator.
A breast lump, a sore that has changed in appearance or hasn’t healed properly, any persistent severe pain, blood in the stool or urine, a sore throat or cough that persists-these are several of the most common signs.
Many people who notice a “suspicious” symptom have encountered cancer before through the illness of a loved one, such as a parent or grandparent.
Others have not had such a personal experience but have seen cancer statistics in the media or heard about it within their community.
Cayman Islands Cancer Society
The mission of the Society is to increase awareness among the people of the Cayman Islands of cancer as a major health concern, to initiate positive change in all areas relating to cancer, to prevent the development of cancer and to counsel and support cancer patients and their families.
American Cancer Society
According to the American Cancer Society, about one out of eight invasive breast cancers develop in women younger than forty-five.
About two out of three invasive breast cancers are found in women fifty-five or older. In fact, the aging process is the biggest risk factor for breast cancer.
That’s because the longer we live, the more opportunities there are for genetic damage to occur in the body. And as we age, our bodies are less capable of repairing genetic damage.
That’s why it’s so important to take care of ourselves by eating right, exercising several times a week, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, and living a healthy lifestyle as we age.
Dense Breast Tissue
About 45% of women age forty to seventy-four have dense breasts. The younger you are, the denser your breast are.
Dense breast has been known to have more fibrous and glandular tissue than fatty tissue, which can make it difficult for a radiologist to detect cancer on a mammogram. Fatty tissue is dark, so any cancer is more visible.
National Cancer Institute
According to the National Cancer Institute, specific inherited mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 increase the risk of female breast and ovarian cancers, and they have been associated with increased risks of several additional types of cancer.
Together, BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations account for about 20 to 25 % of hereditary breast cancers and about 5 to 10% of all breast cancers. In addition, mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 account for around 15% of ovarian cancers overall.
Breast and ovarian cancers associated with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation can be inherited from a person’s mother or father.
Each child of a parent who carries a mutation in one of these genes has a 50% chance (or 1 chance in 2) of inheriting the mutation.
Here’s another interesting fact-Studies also show that lack of regular exercise can impact the likelihood of developing breast cancer.
Even more reason for me to stay in the gym. Lol!