So October, amongst other things, is Breast Cancer Awareness month. I wanted to post about it much sooner, but it kind of slip my mind because around here, at the CANCER HOSPITAL, in an office with two breast cancer clinical research coordinators, every month is breast cancer awareness month pretty much.
Breast cancer is a totally serious subject. According to the American Cancer Society's 2005-2006 Breast Cancer Facts and Figures skin cancers aside, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, and 1 in 3 women diagnosed with cancer will be diagnosed with breast cancer. While women in the 20-24 age group had the lowest incidence of breast cancer, the median age at diagnosis was 61, with 50% of the group being older, 50% younger, IE if you are old enough to have boobs, you're old enough to be looking out for abnormalities. Yeah, it's not likely you'll be 20 and have a tumor, but the sad truth is, there's always a chance. To really get a grasp on the demographics of breast cancer, I suggest clicking the link, but in general, white women have a higher incidence of breast cancer than African American women after the age of 35, but African American women have a slightly higher incidence before the age of 35 and are more likely to die at any age.
This crap is scary, true, but there is good news - a self awareness of one's own breastacles (be prepared for the use of that word often in this post, as well as a new phrase EE coined when talking about the nipples: "nipulars"), doing a self-breast exam and having mammograms can lead to early detection of even the teeniest lump, bump or irregularity. You could literally save your own life by staying on top of things. I have created a mini-illustrated guide for "staying on top of things." Because things like cancer and mammograms aren't usually funny, I've made this funny, because I'm a funny person and laughter heals the heart and all that happy nonsense. Plus it gave me something to do!
The ACS emphasizes all this "self awareness of one's own breasts" stuff on their website. Besides you, whoever else is feeling you up could also be a big help (I don't have scientfic evidence to back this up, but I do think it's true. You know how men are about the breast, they might even be better acquainted with it than you, and hell, it's on your body!) so if you're ever messing around, why not throw in a little breast palpation? It's fun!
Here are Jam and I in a meadow by a mountain stream. This shows that you can really do a breast once-over anywhere, because you have everything you need - a set of boobies and a pair of hands. Bingo - you're done! And it's free! Here, to spice things up, I've drawn me in a black slip with some nice, frothy black lace at the hem. Sexy. I have on red pumps too, probably the ones that I paid $7 for at a K-Mart in NYC. The heels are miraculously NOT sinking into the grass too! Jam is in silk red boxers. Clearly it's summer in the meadow, otherwise we'd have a chill! It looks like we're having a lot of fun with this. You might want to follow Breast Self Exam guidelines for this.
Oh right. Jam requested that I draw him with the dreads he intends to grow one day. I said "NEIN" because personally, while I have nothing against dreads as a hair style, I don't like the idea of him in dreads. Plus I had so lovingly worked on his fade in the last drawing. Then I remember the threat I made to him: "If you grow dreads, I'm getting a puppy. I'm not fond of dreads, you're not fond of dogs, it's all even." On that note, I drew him with dreads and me with a puppy:
Now if you are of the lesbionic persuasion you are extra lucky because you have two pairs of breastacles and two pairs of hands. What luck! You could do simultaneous breast feels on each other, sweet.
Here are two hot ladies in their Jamaica Plain abode, with a window in the background, overlooking the Arboretum and a well-appointed valance on the window. They were making a pie in their cobalt Williams Sonoma ceramic dish, when sh*t! They remembered about Breast Cancer Awareness Month! They whipped of their shirts (but left their sexy lady aprons (crafted by their ally friend)on and went to it. One of them has to step on a stool so the angle is right, but they are doing a good job. Their pet kitties are watching too! Since they are both girls they are well-versed in the self-breast exam process, but they did review the web before proceeding ;)
Sometimes a friend/partner/spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend is not available to assess your breasts. That's why it's up to you to be aware of their feel and structure and appearance and stuff. While the self-breast exam is (in my opinion) still an important tool, the American Cancer Society has become less focused on that whole "once a month give your boobies a once over" thing. and more focused on always being aware of the baseline status of the boobs. Plus with the changes in recommendations for the BSE procedure and it's limitations it IS probably more useful to be on the lookout constantly. I couldn't resist, however, putting in the solo BSE.
Yes yes yes, she's in the shower, and the new method recommended is lying down, but I still like to give the breastacles a once-over in the shower. Nothings easier than lathering the set up and running your hands over them - so smooth and simple! This lady is doing just that, as she bathes in her mod bathroom with a tile floor, embroidered floral shower curtain and green new hampshire granite countertop. Delicious, who wouldn't want to do a BSE in that bathroom? It's sparkling clean!
On to the mammogram. The mammogram is a great way to see what's going on with the boob. It's a breast x-ray. A lot of people worry about the radiation exposure, but it is insignificant and will in no way increase your risk of cancer (so the ACS and my place of employment tell me, and trust me, they're both well-known organizations who wouldn't lie to you). Yeah it's uncomfortable and stuff, yeah it's a pain in the ass, but it's so easy. It's the best method for early detection and can detect irregularities that are still too small to feel! If you're worried about cost or transportation, click on this link. There are a good number of programs out there that can help you out. My hospital has a whole mammography van that will come to your neighborhood for the day and hook you up! All of the listed resources cover cervical cancer screening as well, also incredibly important and easy, though trust me, I will not be illustrating that, LOL.
Early detection is so important that there's really nothing stopping you- insurance companies and health care providers have made a committment to women by ensuring that there is a way for every woman in America (over 40) to have yearly mammograms. What are you waiting for??
Finally the men. Male breast cancer is a real thing. People, men especially, seem to scoff at it, but it's no laughing matter! The linked article explains a bit about male breast cancer and detection methods. Luckily most men have very little breast tissue. Ladies, it's up to you to feel those breastacles. If you don't who else will? We know men can barely take care of themselves, do you think they'll remember?
I like this one because I really captured the shock on Jam's face. This is how he would look if I catapulted on top of him while he was sleeping and started feeling on his boobies. Of course, he is used to me palpating his lymph nodes regularly so maybe he wouldn't be too too surprised if I did this, LOL.
If you have learned anything from this post besides the incredible amounts of fun you can have playing with MS Paint during work, I hope it's that your are your own best weapon against breast cancer. Feel your breastacles and nipulars often. Know what they're supposed to look and feel like. If you're over 40 get a mammogram. If you're a boy and you have a boob lump, don't ignore it! If anyone feels a boob lump, tell your doctor right away. It's probably nothing, but it's not worth the risk. Take good care of yourself!