According to a 2017 report released by the American Cancer Society, black women are more likely to get breast cancer before the age of 40, and are more likely to die from it at any age. The breast cancer death rate during 2011 through 2015 was 42% higher in black women than in white women. Click here to follow the link to the report.
Scary yeah…I know right! In view of this alarming incidence of breast cancer, I carried out a systematic review on the knowledge, attitude and perception of sub-Saharan African women towards breast self-examination (BSE hereafter). The review acknowledged the general awareness of BSE and attitude amongst Sub-Saharan African women is good but even among those that are aware, the detailed knowledge and the practice was low. Barriers such as poor knowledge of breast cancer and BSE fear of discovering a lump, and no time to practice BSE was reported.
Ok guys…what I am trying to say here is, prevention is better than cure. Breast prevention continues to be the key theme which has been preached by cancer experts in combating breast cancer worldwide. BSE is still suggested as a universal method to growing breast health awareness and as a result likely to promote early detection of any anomalies.
What if you made a deal with yourself to do the exam on the first of every month? I know that can be quite difficult, especially when we have a thousand and one things going on at all times, but think of it as an investment. While there’s no way to prevent breast cancer, early detection is the single best way to combat it. In fact, 40% of breast cancer detection stems from breast self-exams. So, by taking a few minutes each month to check, you’re doing yourself and your family a world of good.
Now, maybe you’re like me and you sincerely care about your breast health, but you always forget to do the exam. Well, we’re going to change that together because I’ve found an amazing way to remember to do your exam on the first of each month.
Okay, there is a saying, “Pinch, Punch, First of the Month!!” If you haven’t heard of this, it’s just a thing people say on the first of the month and then they get to (gently) pinch or punch whoever they say it to. So, what if you started texting, “Pinch, Punch, First of the Month!” to your close ones (your wife, your mom, your sister or even your girlfriends) as a funny joke, but also as a gentle reminder to do the breast self-exam? I feel like it’s always easier to remember something when there’s a joke attached to it. Give it a go! I will, too.
And just as a reminder, click here for easy, step-by-step breast self-exam instructions as recommended by the breast cancer.org website.
By taking care of your breast health, you’re also taking care of the rest of your family. It’s a win-win. Prevention they say is better than cure!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We will share a blog post on prostate cancer for men in the coming weeks. Have a merry Christmas with your loved ones and get in touch with us if you have something you’d like to blog.
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Written by Ololade Giwa
Ololade is a Nurse and a PhD Candidate of the School of Health Sciences at the University of Stirling.
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