On the Way Home from the Hospital: A Personal Account of Breast Cancer Diagnosis
On the way home from the hospital where I was given my diagnosis of grade 2 invasive lobular breast cancer, I directed my husband, through my tears, to stop at the kosher store.
The Changing Face of Breast Cancer
My hospital appointment took place two days after the front page of the New York Times declared: “When Should Women Get Regular Mammograms: At 40, U.S. Panel Now Says.” Breast cancer is rising in younger women, and for women in their 40s, the rate of increase between 2015 and 2019 doubled from the previous decade to 2 per cent per year. Why is this happening? Air pollution? Microplastics? Chemicals in our food? We don’t know.
The More Aggressive Type of Cancer
Doctors explained that the cancer women are diagnosed with in their 40s tends to be a more aggressive type of cancer. Cancers in premenopausal women grow faster; many breast cancers, like mine, are hormone sensitive. (Got estrogen? Bad luck for you.)
Everyone has advice about breast cancer
When I posted the news about my diagnosis — on Facebook, because I’m an oversharing type — I was stunned by the number of friends my age, more discreet about their lives, who sent me messages to tell me they had recently gone through the same thing. Everyone had advice.
Immune to Breast Cancer?
I’m not sure why I thought I was immune. Or maybe I didn’t — maybe I just never gave it much thought. Even when I found the lump on my breast, I was dismissive.
Jewish women should be on alert about breast cancer
Several of the articles that have been published in recent days are emphasizing the particular danger for Black women, with good reason: They have twice the mortality rate of white women. But as I did my research, I realized that Jewish women should also be on high alert. We’ve long known that one in forty Ashkenazi women has the BRCA gene mutation, significantly raising the risk of breast cancer (50% of women with the gene mutation will get breast cancer) as well as ovarian cancer, which is much harder to detect and far more deadly.
Accepting the Diagnosis
For me, that research will come too late — as did the guidance. For now, I have to accept that this cancer diagnosis is part of my life. And there’s plenty more in store for me that isn’t pretty; so it goes. But here’s a good thing that’s already come out of this diagnosis: When the responses to my Facebook post flooded in, they were not only along the lines of “Refuah shleimah” and “I’ve just been through this too,” but also, “Thank you for sharing! I’m going to book my mammogram right now!”
- Breast Cancer Support Groups
- Jewish Community and Breast Cancer
- Coping with Breast Cancer Diagnosis
- Breast Cancer Awareness and Advocacy
- Cultural and Religious Support for Breast Cancer Patients
News Source : By KAREN E. H. SKINAZI/JTA
Source Link :When a breast cancer diagnosis knocked me down, Jewish women lifted me/