You will see lots of pink ribbons this month as October has been designated as Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
In 1979 wife of one of the prisoners held by Iran in the hostage crisis decided to use a yellow ribbon to show support for her husband. Soon there were hundreds of yellow ribbons displayed around the country to show support for our brave men being held captive. The history of a yellow ribbon goes back hundred of years. It is believed that the Puritans brought the story in a song of a women who wears a yellow ribbon to remember her love who has gone away to war.
‘Round her neck she wears a yeller ribbon She wears it in the winter and the summer so they say If you ask her, “Why the decoration?” She’ll say, “It’s fur my lover who is fur, fur away”
Since then many groups have used a colored ribbon to bring awareness to their own cause.
- Red ribbon – AIDS awareness and for heart disease
- Orange ribbon – leukemia awareness
- Green ribbon – mental illness awareness
- Purple ribbon – Alzheimer’s awareness
And the list goes on and on.
Breast cancer is something all women should be aware of. Men can also get this disease but they count for only a small percentage of all cancer cases.
As a cancer survivor I encourage all women to do all they can to prevent this disease. Some important things to consider:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Stay physically active
- Eat fruits and vegetables
- Do not smoke
- Limit alcohol consumption
I also strongly recommend a monthly self-exam. John Hopkins Medical Center states:
“Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, so establishing a regular breast self-exam is very important.”
This is how I discovered my cancer.
If you discover a lump or are told you have breast cancer, please do not panic. If discovered in the early stages, survival rates are usually 100%. Even in later stages, treatment keeps advancing and survival rates keep going up.
For me my diagnosis was not good. I was told without any further treatment after surgery, I had only a 15% chance of being alive in ten years. With a vigorous treatment of chemotherapy and radiation, my survival rate went up to 25%. But here I am 17 years later cancer free.
As my husband said when we received the terrible diagnosis:
“It is not over until God says it is over.”
Another cancer survivor whose diagnosis was worse than mine but who survived for years told me:
Don’t worry about the statistics. That is all they are – numbers. Make your own statistic.
But do your self-exam monthly!!!!