By Senator, Lena C. Taylor
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and I would like to take this opportunity to speak to both women and men a little bit about that awful disease.
Though major advances have been made, breast cancer remains an all too common health affliction.
But there are a lot of options for moving forward.
The sad truth is that there is a good chance that any man or woman will eventually know a loved one who becomes ill. And there is certainly a chance that the illness may be breast cancer, which one in eight American women will eventually contract. In fact, one out of three cancers in women is breast cancer. However, early detection can do a lot to reverse this trend. We can beat back the dangers of breast cancer. Just as importantly, we can overcome the fear that cancer produces.
Neither I nor any public health institution can overstate the importance of yearly mammograms. Now, I know that some of you will have heard you need to know about the importance of regular checkups and mammograms, but a lot of a lot of women still don’t know how important they are.
What’s more, so is making sure that you quickly report any change to the condition of your breasts. These habits save lives!
Did you know that while white women are more likely to contract breast cancer, women of color are more likely to pass away from the disease?
It’s simply unbelievable, I know. There is a lot to be said about that fact, including the fact that the best medical coverage is still not available to all. On the other hand, Black women are less likely to take preventative precautions such as trying early screenings.
Remember, what you do matters, not only to yourself but also to your children, brothers and sisters, parents, and friends. This is the purpose of your life as much as any other, to serve and protect the people who love you, to be responsible and healthy. In doing so, we honor life. There are nearly 3 million breast cancer survivors in the United States, a great deal more than there would be without the prudence of early detection.
Now, we all know that breast cancer is somewhat preventable disease.
Early detection shoots survival rates through the roof. However, we are also aware that love and affection can help anyone through the difficult times that may follow. Tragedies are no less tragedies when they bring out the best in us, but they can become more manageable when we put others ahead of ourselves. Mahatma Gandhi said that we can find ourselves by losing ourselves in the service of others, and I really believe that is the case.
So when confronted with the heart-breaking realization that one of your loved ones has contracted cancer or any other sickness, I encourage you not to retreat. Shower that person with unexpected love. Even when that person may not be a loved one, do the same. Never underestimate the effect you can have in another’s life, and never underestimate the power of your love to heal all hurts. You have far greater power than you may have ever imagined.