It’s October, or Pink October as we love to call it. It is also the breast cancer awareness month, and I feel that it would not be right that the month goes by without a word from me.
Well, since there is no easier way to talk about this, I find it necessary to talk to young girls and women about self awareness and knowing and understanding your body. I mean, when was the last time you did a self breast exam? Or, when was the last time you visited your gynecologist?
Here is my story.
In 2010, I was in Strathmore University, fresh from high school, barely turned eighteen! Being the reader that I am, I read many articles about basically everything, including women’s health. I came across a breast cancer article and decided to perform a breast exam on myself. To my surprise, I felt lumps! Two of them, one on each. I cannot explain my thought process the minute I felt that. I was scared. I panicked. I wanted to cry. At the time, the only lumps I knew about were breast cancer. I did not know anything else. That was in May 2010.
I then decided that I was not going to hospital to get diagnosed and actually hear the doctor say it. My mind since then never knew peace. I googled so many things. I read so many books! In the process, I came to learn that there are four different types of lumps. Two are malignant. Two are benign. I read some more. By this time I had gone back home, Karatina, Nyeri. I decided to visit the family doctor. See, based on what I had read, and the characteristics of the lumps, I knew they were fibroadenomas. But I had to see the doctor. He confirmed this. That was in September 2010.
It was then that I got the courage to tell another person what was going on. I told my father. He panicked, of course. And insisted that I go to Aga Khan, Parklands. By then i was more at ease, so I agreed.
I went to Aga Khan in October, the same year, and saw Dr. Wasike; the best breast doctor in the country. They performed a biopsy and an ultrasound. The results? It was/is a fibroadenoma.
See, the point here is to understand that as a woman it is important to take care of yourself. Some of these conditions are mostly treatable if detected early. If you do find a lump in your breast, know that it does not necessarily mean that you have breast cancer. Most women between 15 years to 35 years WILL have fibroadenomas, which fade over the years. And even if it is a malignant type of lump, if it is found early, it is treatable. Remember that.
I hope that this inspires you to take advantage of all the offers during this month of October, and you get to the clinic and get checked.
You could be your own hero.
In light of yesterday, The International Day of the Girl Child, take care of you and the girl child in your family. Be aware.