October is designated as National Breast Cancer Awareness month. In the United States, over 100,000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed each year. Several years ago, I was personally faced with dealing with breast cancer as my mother was diagnosed. I vividly recall it was the summer before I was preparing to move away for graduate school when I got the news. It was very devastating at the time. Yet my thoughts didn’t consider what she was experiencing at that time. First, how was she going to cope with the diagnosis? Second, how was she feeling about opening up and talking about her diagnosis with her first born child right before his departure to begin a journey towards becoming a psychologist? Now that she is healthy and remains in my life I have been treasuring each day with her. I have also been making an active effort to take part in activities that focus on Breast Cancer Awareness. For example, every year I travel home to run in the Susan G. Komen 5K in her honor.
I can only imagine what it is like for a mother to tell her child about her illness. Given the incidence of breast cancer, many women are faced with this issue each year. Here are a few facts you should know about Breast Cancer:
- Typically, breast cancer starts out too small to feel and does not cause signs and symptoms
- It is important to have a regular mammogram. Doctors use a mammogram to look for early signs of breast cancer.
- Having regular mammograms can lower the risk of dying from breast cancer.
- Men can also get breast cancer, but it is not very common. For every 100 cases of breast cancer, less than 1 is in men.
Dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis:
If you are diagnosed with breast cancer it is important to make sure you receive appropriate care. The links below provide some resources to help throughout the process.
- Tips on talking to your doctor
- Questions to ask your doctor
- Resources for getting a free mammogram
- Fact sheet on coping with breast cancer
Talking to your child about breast cancer:
View the links below for help on how to talk with your child about breast cancer and how to help them cope with your illness.
- Helping children understand cancer
- Talking to kids about “what is cancer”
- What it takes to be a caregiver
- Information on finding a support group
Written by Erlanger A. Turner, Ph.D. October 2012
© Copyright 2012 Erlanger A. Turner