Cancer sucks and knowledge is power

The world is a little less bright tonight; a fellow Mom and blogger Susan Niebur lost her battle with breast cancer today. I only recently discovered Susan’s blog but read through it in a few days. She leaves behind a husband and two small children, she was also an astrophysicist! Susan battled inflammatory breast cancer which she was diagnosed with at 34 and fought for 5 years.

I didn’t know Susan and only recently became familiar with her story but it resonated deeply with me because of my own scare last year. At the time I wasn’t interested in sharing it publicly but I did share it with friends and family. Like many women during a monthly self-check, I realized something wasn’t right with my girls but there was no lump.  Due to a family history that my Mom had shared with me early in in life, I knew that I always needed to be vigilant about my breasts. In the end, I consulted with several doctors, had a mammogram and saw a specialist before we were comfortable ruling out that there was no problem. Yet at 38, I was told I will now need a mammogram yearly.

I remember sharing this with a few friends who seemed surprised due to my relative young age and even had a couple suggest nothing could possibly be wrong. Ladies, breast cancer does not always present as the lump we are told to look for and age does not exclude one from getting breast cancer. In fact looking back in the past several years I have known more than a handful of women who have lost their lives due to breast cancer and they were all under 40. The sad reality is often times breast cancer is more aggressive in younger women and inflammatory breast cancer is the most aggressive breast cancer.

I guess this is a bit of a PSA and something that was on my mind after hearing of Susan’s passing, but ladies it’s important to not only know our bodies but if something seems amiss get it checked out. If your healthcare provider isn’t taking you seriously, get a second or even a third opinion.  Your very life may depend on it.