What My Mom Taught Me about Breast Cancer and the Importance of Self-Examinations

There is absolutely no reason to neglect your health.

By: Stephanie Mark

I’ve mentioned many times, in many articles, that my mom is someone I greatly admire and look up to. In addition to being funny as hell and a great mom, it’s her work outside of the home that really makes me proud of her. Not only is she a nurse (in my opinion, one of the most important yet under-appreciated and thankless jobs out there), but for the past 15 years she ran the Breast Cancer Centre at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto.

Each day she made sure women who were feeling scared, alone, and vulnerable felt less vulnerable. A few years ago, I became introduced to some of the women who run The Estée Lauder Companies’ Breast Cancer Campaign. After spending time with them and telling them about what my mom does, I realized that while detection and prevention were common conversation topics at my house, this was not the case for the majority of women. We were up to date on the latest BRACA gene testing breakthroughs and how to give self-exams, and it was not rare for my sister or me to walk into our house and see one of our friends being examined by our mom because they were scared something was wrong.

While I wholeheartedly support everything the BCC stands for, I am most passionate about prevention and detection. I strongly urge everyone to talk to their doctors about yearly breast exams, self-examinations, genetic testing, and how to take your health into your own hands.

This year, I was fortunate enough to participate in The Estée Lauder Companies’ Breast Cancer Campaign honoring the 25-year milestone in a documentary called Unraveling the Pink Ribbon: Creating a Breast Cancer-Free World, and I encourage you to hear the brave stories above.

 

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