Walking The Talk
Last month, TSF pledged to donate a portion of our sales to National Cancer Society Malaysia to help raise awareness about cancer screenings and the importance of early detection. I was happy to do it but I was also a hypocrite for doing so.
My own check up was 8 years over due. Between life, work, child and an irrational fear of finding something wrong with me, I just kept finding excuses to put it off. So during Pink October I told myself I had to walk the talk. The routine check-up called for blood work, chest and abdominal x-rays. Had it not been for our pledge, I would not have bothered with the breast scan. I read somewhere that breastfeeding your child reduces your risk of breast cancer so I naïvely thought I was safe.
The radiologist found two lumps in my left breast.
Based on the shape, the doctor said one was very likely benign because of the lump’s defined contour. Very common, very normal.
The other, however, was cause for concern because it showed up as an ominous shadow in the ultrasound. I had to do an in-clinic biopsy where a needle sized sample of the lump was extracted and the results were only to be returned 5 days later.
It was the most agonising wait ever.
The results came back negative and we scheduled in my surgery to remove both lumps. I was in a good mood; glad this ordeal was nearing its end and the offending tissue out of my body. The doctor called for one more biopsy of both lumps to be 100% sure I was clear.
It turned out that the shadowed lump was atypical ductal hyperplasia (ADH) - cells that were just beginning to mutate in my breast duct.
I just about made it through by the skin of my teeth. Left any longer, it carried a higher risk of turning pre-cancerous.
I now understand. I finally really understand how important early detection AND prevention is. Prevent the need for painful treatments, prevent emotional and financial strain, prevent loss. With my diagnosis, I now know that I have a higher risk of developing breast cancer and am required to do bi-yearly breast scans to keep them at close surveillance.
I tell you my story to implore you to find the time to get screened. It’s easy to forget that your body is vulnerable when you feel like you are hardly ever sick. It’s easy to assume that it won’t happen to you…well, it happened to me.
Every year, one in 27 women are diagnosed in Malaysia. One in every 22 Chinese women, one in every 23 Indian women and one in every 30 Malay women.
And the stats are steadily increasing.
Do yourself and your family a favour.
Please do your check ups regularly.