Recent statistics paint a harsh reality about women and breast health in the United States. Next to lung cancer, breast cancer reigns as the leading cause of cancer-related death in the U.S. According to the National Cancer Institute, there are about 230,000 cases of female breast cancer that will be diagnosed this year alone. While that number is incredible on its own, established OBGYN Dr. Adolphus Sowemimo asserts that the amount of undiagnosed cases is even more frightening.
The reality is that every day young women around the nation have to make independent decisions regarding their breast health. They have to speak up about breast cancer screening, treatment options and abnormal growth. Although this conversation should be easy, some women find it hard to get the breast cancer dialog started. A few short years ago, world-renowned actress Angelina Jolie reported that she had undergone a preventive double mastectomy because of her predisposition to breast cancer. This predisposition was defined when doctors found a gene mutation that put her at risk for developing the disease.
The seemingly intimate discussion about her decision sparked controversy but Dr. Adolphus Sowemimo urges readers to recognize that the dialogue was mostly informational. In a world where celebrity news is often marked by lavish expenses, scandal and controversy, a discussion that offers health information is unique and helpful. Ms. Jolie told reporters that she discussed her breath health with the public in hopes of encouraging other women to seek out information to take control of their own breast health.
In the last year TV personalities like Stephanie Harris, Amy Roback and Joan Lunden have all been publicly added to the Breast Cancer Register. Lunden had just received a normal mammogram when an ultrasound revealed a suspicious lesion that was later diagnosed as cancer. Dr. Adolphus Sowemimo explains that the stories about how these women discovered their cancer is of the utmost importance. “Many cases go undiagnosed for weeks, months and even years because women aren’t getting screened or aren’t administering self-examinations. Self-administered breast examinations involve a procedure whereby the woman would stand before a mirror (usually during her menstrual periods), put one hand behind her head to elevate that side of the breast, and use the opposite hand to feel for any lumps on the elevated side, whilst visually checking for asymmetry of both breasts in front of the mirror. It’s really quite simple and it’s important that women are well-informed, and if celebrity breast health news gets the dialogue started, it’s more than worth it.”