By Michel Sproles
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is not only about pink ribbons and Breast Cancer alone, but about bringing awareness to proactive healthcare and catching cancer and other diseases before they can become harmful. It’s important to know your body and be diligent in your healthcare. Getting our routine checkups and going to the doctor when noticing changes to our body is vital. Early detection is everything and saves lives. I know because I lived it.
A year ago this month, I was diagnosed with Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS). DCIS is a non-invasive, non life-threatening form of Breast Cancer that is not often discussed. In fact, I had never heard of this until it happened to me. After learning this, I underwent a double mastectomy with reconstruction to ease my fears of this disease. No chemo or radiation was needed! I now have less than a 1% chance of local or distant recurrence.
After visiting three doctors for what I noticed was a thickening in my breast, I was told there was nothing wrong with me. There was no palpable lump, so the doctors felt no reason to worry and I was given a routine ultrasound, which is given to most women under age 35 and still nothing.
But my gut, my discernment or what some might call the Holy Spirit led me to continue to seek answers and after my fourth doctor visit, I was finally given a referral for a mammogram. And sure enough, there were cancerous calcifications lodged in my milk ducts. At Stage 0, the cancer cells had not broken beyond the duct to become an invasive and potentially harmful cancer.
With that said, ladies please be diligent in your own health. This disease does NOT run in my family. Whether or not it runs in yours or not, be sure to do your routine check-ups and self breast exams. As an athlete of 15 years, I always watched my diet and considered myself generally healthy and so did my doctors. I’ve learned in most cases such as this, it’s the patient who finds this disease.
Ladies, be in-tune with your mind, body and spirit and always listen to it because it will never steer you wrong. My gut led me to find this disease in its earliest, non-harmful form, and I am eternally grateful.
I hope this encourages every reader to be PROACTIVE and GET CHECKED!