It has been almost a year since I lost my oldest sister to cancer. It is one of the hardest things I have ever gone through in my life and it has given me a whole new perspective on not only life, but the lives of those going through the illness. My sister lived with us for about 5 months, from diagnoses on, while she got treatment at a close medical facility. There were many times that we cried together, laughed together and just enjoyed the time we had. Looking back, I wish I would have done more, said more, and been able to simply help more in some way. Not everyone loses the battle, I know many amazing people who have won the battle against cancer and many who have beat breast cancer. You never know what will happen, so be sure to take advantage of every moment.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month so I want to help raise awareness of the disease and offer support and for cures, treatments, and prevention. Here are a few facts about breast cancer that you many not know:
- Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, breast cancer is the second most common.
- Women born today have about a 1 in 8 chance of getting breast cancer at some point in their lives.
- Over 230,000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed each year
- If you get breast cancer and have employer-sponsored insurance, you will spend over $6,500 out of pocket.
I don’t know about you, but these numbers are a little scary. It is even more scary when you find yourself as the one who is affected. There are steps you can take to help with early detection that could save your life. Some of these things are:
- Women in their 20’s and 30’s should have a clinical breast exam (CBE) to check for lumps as part of their periodic checkups.
- Women age 40 and older should get a mammogram every year
- Breast-self exams (BSE) are also options for women in their 20’s
Early detection and improvements in treatment are helping millions of women survive breast cancer. If you are affected it is important to find the cancer before it starts causing symptoms. Cancers that are found because they are causing problems have usually spread beyond the affected area. In-contrast, cancers found during an exam are often smaller and confined to the breast – this is why it important to get regular check-ups. Another thing to consider is reviewing your insurance coverage to make sure it will meet your needs if something were to happen. If you are diagnosed, the treatments can be really expensive. Companies like Aflac offer cash benefits to help offset the costs associated with the out-of-pocket expenses. Other benefits of having a cancer insurance policy is that it can help cover things like child care, transportation, house payments, groceries and more!
Aflac’s recently introduced One Day PaySM initiative where you can get your claim approved in just one day so you can get cash in hand. This year, Aflac is partnering with the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) again for the second annual “Duck Wears Pink” campaign. The net proceeds from this campaign are donated to the AACR for research funding – aimed at finding a cure for breast cancer. The AACR is the first and largest cancer research organization in the world. It has a membership of more than 35,000 professionals residing in 101 countries working to eradicate cancer. Aflac supports this groundbreaking work. You can help by donating (or buying merchandise) here.
While I don’t have personal experience with having fought cancer, I believe that I have a very good idea of what it is like because of my sister and her living with us for several months. I saw her fight, her battle and her ups and downs. It is very hard no matter how big or small the issues are, and more than anything the diagnosed person needs a great support team. Be there for them no matter what and let them know they are not alone. I would love to hear about your stories and experiences with cancer.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.