October focuses on breast cancer awareness

From left to right; Angela Garcia, Amanda Medina, Sarah Jackson and Elizabeth Harden attend the ‘Bikers for Boobs’ event.

Del Mar College nursing student Alex Tovar is one of the many people who have suffered the loss of a loved one due to breast cancer.

Tovar made the decision to begin her college career as a nurse to memorialize her mother’s struggle and to advocate the importance of screening tests for cancer at an early stage.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the colors of fall transition to a shade of pink. For some, this is an opportunity to reflect on and honor their perseverance in the face of adversity and raise awareness about the severity of breast cancer as well as the need of doctor screenings.

“Breast cancer is a terrible disease and watching someone you care about suffer with the pain every day still hurts to this day. I miss her and think about her every day,” Tovar said.

Tovar, who lost her mother just one year ago, reflects on the pain of losing a loved one to breast cancer.

“By the time my mother was diagnosed, it was too late; the cancer had already spread to other areas of her body. I wish we had gone to the doctor sooner. I can’t help but think that she would be here with me today if we had gotten there earlier,” Tovar said.

Screening is crucial for early identification for breast cancer since patients hardly have symptoms during the tumor’s early, more treatable stages. A bump that causes no discomfort is the most typical symptom.

Even before the primary breast tumor is large enough to be felt, it can spread to the lymph nodes under the arm and create a lump or swelling. Breast soreness or heaviness; persistent skin changes like swelling, thickness, or redness and breast alterations like spontaneous discharge, scaliness or retraction are among the less frequent signs and symptoms, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

Nancy Lechner, a breast cancer survivor, stresses the importance of regular screenings even if you’re feeling uncertain about going to doctor visits.

“Many women don’t want to go to their doctor because they fear getting bad news,” Lechner said. It is a scary feeling it can cause anxiety. However, having cancer is scarier. If diagnosed early, there is a much higher chance of beating the cancer.”

Breast cancer is the most frequent disease in women, killing thousands annually, and in the United States, a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every two minutes on average, according to American Cancer Society.

For anyone battling breast cancer at this time, Lechner wants them to know “they are not alone in the fight, there are support groups to talk to. Don’t keep people away because you might feel a burden; you can get through this.”

Locally, the Facebook group 361 Breast Cancer Resource is open to all women who would like to be connected or need resources to help them through their journey.

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