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Women and breast cancer

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LETTER TO THE EDITOR by Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson

Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson

While a clinical student and professional nurse, I witnessed the suffering that breast cancer causes in the lives of so many people, particularly women. Each year, according to the World Health Organization, nearly 500,000 women lose their lives to the condition.

According to health professionals, some risk factors associated with breast cancer include smoking, poor diets, obesity, elevated hormone levels and, in some cases, genetics.  A lump in the breast tissue that is noticeably different can be a symptom of breast cancer and should be examined by a doctor. Women should perform regular breast self-examinations.

While breast cancer in women is more than one hundred times more common than in men, the survival rate for women is greater because men tend to suspect the disease at much later ages than women, usually between   sixty and seventy.  Some unsuspectingly ill men think that it is “only a woman’s disease.” And they are quite surprised when given a breast cancer diagnosis.

When it comes to matters of health, women have always been courageous, always thinking of others and not just themselves.  In 1974 the nation’s First Lady, Betty Ford, revealed that she had breast cancer and urged other women to have   breast exams.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Recently, the actress, Angelina Jolie, announced that she had surgery to lessen the possibility of dying from the disease.  She urged other women to pay attention to their health status.

In Dallas numerous medical professionals and institutions are dedicated to battling the disease. The Baylor T. Boone Pickens Cancer Hospital was the first devoted solely to cancer treatment in North Texas.  Two years ago, Baylor opened the Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center.  The 467,000 square foot facility is the second largest cancer treatment program in Texas.

U.T. Southwestern opened the Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1989.  The institution has a number of cancer treatment programs, including one devoted to breast cancer.  Professionals at the institution strive to meet the “individual needs” of patients, working with them and their families.

At Texas Oncology, a part of the Methodist Health System, the educational, financial, emotional and health needs of patients are addressed.  The nutritional needs of patients dealing with breast cancer are given significant attention.

The Cancer institute of Dallas focuses on state of the art medical treatment and environmental concerns.  The patient facilities were designed to lessen the emotional concerns of cancer patients who are surrounded by massive windows, trees and fields which are a part of their therapy.

Continued research and medical discoveries will lead to decreasing numbers of breast cancer deaths. Until then we need to make certain that women and men are vigilant in protecting their health. While physicians and institutions perform a pivotal role in fighting the disease, there is much more that we as individuals can do to ensure longer and more productive lives.

  • TEA_Witch

    And this idiot admitted to not reading ACA. I too had breast cancer and thanks to ACA can no longer have yrly diagnostic mammograms. Thanks you shill.Good news: I am now eligible for yrly STD screening and counseling. Never needed it before.

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