October 31, 2016 --
The term ‘breast cancer’ stirs a range of feelings and reactions from people around the globe; whether disbelief, fear, hopelessness or some other emotion, prospects of being diagnosed with the dreaded illness is oftentimes devastating.
October is set aside annually as recognition and observance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. For some it is a time of celebration, having escaped the thralls of the disease; for others it may be a time of reflection and commemoration for loved ones who lost their battle.
Wrapping up the month, Anthony Wade, operations and plans specialist, Base Operations and Training Division, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, discussed the personal toll and impact of breast cancer on loved ones, families and friends.
Wade honored “a close friend,” Melissa Jefferson of Columbus, Georgia, who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.
“A person near and dear to my heart, the wife of my best friend, Melissa Jefferson (was diagnosed) with breast cancer a few months ago,” Wade said. “My wife and I are the God parents of their child and they are the God parents of our child.
“My wife and I were there when she had her surgery,” he recalled. “She and her husband made the decision to have the double mastectomy and do away with (potential risk of remnants of) cancer. She had surgery and as of a couple of weeks ago is cancer-free.
“Going through the entire ordeal has had a profound effect not (only) on their family, but also on my wife and I, because they are so close to us,” Wade explained. “Faced with that situation, certainly, weighed a lot on her and her family. It’s been difficult on my wife and I also, because we’re all like brothers and sisters.
“I believe, being a God-fearing person and having a great spirit is what helped her so much,” he continued. (Her strength also helped) her husband, her son, as well as my wife and I to stay calm.
Wade offered words of encouragement to others going through the same or similar experiences.
“I would say, as with anything in life, keep God first,” he emphasized. “If someone knows anyone struggling with it, just keep praying for them; keep them close; I think the biggest thing is don’t treat them any differently, because you don’t want to send them into a state of depression.
“Finally, during this time you just want to continue to live; continue to do the things you do from day-to-day,” Wade concluded. “I think that will help to strengthen the person, not only with their belief, but also with their faith.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control website, signs of breast cancer may include a lump in the breast, a change in breast shape, dimpling of the skin, fluid coming from the nipple, or a red scaly patch of skin. In those with distant spread of the disease, there may be bone pain, swollen lymph nodes, shortness of breath, or yellow skin.
Not counting some kinds of skin cancer, breast cancer in the United States is—
·The most common cancer in women, no matter race or ethnicity.
·The most common cause of death from cancer among Hispanic women.
·The second most common cause of death from cancer among white, black, and Asian/Pacific Islander women.
·The third most common cause of death from cancer among American Indian/Alaska Native women.
Learn more on the latest updates and statistics in breast cancer research by visiting the CDC’s website: http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/statistics/index.htm.