Monthly exams can save

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Here it is again – October – Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

It’s difficult to imagine there is anyone out there who has to be reminded of this terrible disease.

It’s a disease that takes thousands of lives every year. It affects thousands of families across the country annually, depriving many, many children of their moms.

That’s what it did to my mom. She lost hers to cancer when she was only 16 years old. Then she and her older sister were left to raise their four younger siblings, one brother and three sisters.

I don’t know of many families who have not been hit in some way or another by breast cancer.

It hits the young and the old, those with other health problems and those who are perfectly healthy.

I had a good friend in Brewton who was only 24 years old. She had just given birth to twins, a boy and a girl, and when they were 6-months-old, she found a lump in her breast during her monthly breast exam.

She went to the doctor, where they promptly removed the lump, and she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

She went through several rounds of chemotherapy, all the while doing a remarkable job of being a young mother to her two children.

She survived the chemotherapy with a lot of prayer and has been cancer-free since then.

She discovered her breast cancer during a monthly self examination. And this has always stuck in my mind.

Every month, when I’m too tired or too busy, I think about my friend, who is able to spend time with her two adorable children because she took the time to do a self breast examination.

It’s a simple procedure that any doctor can show a woman how to do. And it’s a procedure that can save your life. You only have to ask.

Women, think of your families. Think of your children. Imagine what they would do if you had to leave them behind.

Men, encourage the ladies in your lives to perform their monthly checks.

Here’s a little song you can sing to remind you of your breast self examination.

Sing it to the tune of &uot;Row, Row, Row Your Boat.&uot;

Check, check, check your breasts

Every single day…

Look for lumps and bumps and strive …

For a long and healthy life.

Candace Parker is the news editor at the Shelby County Reporter. She can be reached at