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Staying married to nobody 3: a story on breast cancer

Dr. O.

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continued from episode 2.

“Please calm down Madam” the doctor said patting her gently on the back, “I’ve not said it’s cancer for sure and even if it is, we might have caught it at an early stage” she consoled. “Calm down? You just said I might have cancer and you want me to calm down?” Rita said crying. “Let me explain” the doctor said, “breast cancer is a type of cancer that develops from the breast cells, it occurs especially in women but can also occur in men. It usually begins in cells of milk producing ducts or lobules or other cells within the breast, this abnormal cancerous cells can spread to other parts of the body causing damage and this is why it is important to detect it early to prevent its spread.”

“What causes it?” Rita asked sniffing, “the cause is unknown for now although certain risk factors such as personal or family history of breast cancer, increasing age, obesity, starting your period at an early age, attaining menopause at a much later age, post menopausal hormone therapy and so many others have been identified.” “Are there any symptoms to look out for?” Rita asked still sniffing, “yes there are, some of them include a lump or lumps in the breast or armpit, changes in size, shape or appearance of the breast, bloody discharge from the nipple, peeling, scaling or flaking of nipple or breast skin, newly sunken or inverted nipples and pain in breast or armpit not related to the menstrual cycle.”

“How can one prevent it?” Rita inquired, “regular screening and breast self exam can help to detect it at an early stage and prevent its spread. The American cancer society recently recommended that women with an average risk of breast cancer should undergo regular screening mammography starting at age 45 and should be screened every year till 54 years of age. While women who are 55 and older should be screened every 2 years or have the opportunity to continue yearly screening. Women should also have the opportunity to begin annual screening between the ages of 40 and 44 and screening should be continued as long as their overall health is good and they have a life expectancy of 10 years or more.”

 

“One last question doctor, how can breast cancer be treated?” Rita asked. “Treatment depends on the type and stage of breast cancer and its sensitivity to hormones that can increase its risk, it may involve surgery (removal of a lump or lumps, one or both breasts and lymph nodes), radiation therapy, chemotherapy and hormone blocking therapy. There are different stages ranging from I -IV, Stage I has the most favourable outcomes after treatment while stage IV has the least favourable outcomes.In your case we are yet to confirm its a cancer or determine its stage if at all it is so just try to be calm as long as its detected at an early stage you have little to worry about” the doctor advised.

“Thank you” she replied, “I will be at the hospital for the procedure as scheduled ” she promised getting up to leave the room. After leaving the hospital she went straight to Jerry’s place to see her children. “At least I should be given the chance to see my children if there’s a possibility I might die” she said to herself developing a sudden boldness. On getting to the house, it was Jerry who answered the door, he stood in the doorway not wanting to let her in, with all the rage and anger in her she pushed him to the floor and went in to look for her children. “Wicked man!” She shouted as she stormed in, you were never there for me since I married you, all you did was care about work and business while you left me all alone to raise our two kids, you have had your way for a long time but this time I won’t let you, not when the Doctor just said I might have cancer” she spat.

“You have cancer?” Jerry asked shocked to hear the news, his heart melted immediately, he hadn’t realised all she had been going through, “what do you care?” She screamed “all you do is hop up and down from one city to the other.” “I’m sorry” he said, suddenly realising his mistake and moving towards her “I swear I didn’t know I was putting you through all these” he said holding her from behind “Please give me a chance, I promise to make things right, let’s fight this battle together, I can’t let you go through this alone” he begged hugging her tightly.

“It’s okay” she said calming down and turning to face him with tears in her eyes. “We promised each other we’d be together for better for worse, this is my worse, I really need you now” she said bursting into tears. “I’m sorry for everything” he said giving her a kiss on the lips “I promise to always put you first.”

 

THE END

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Dr.O is a graduate of the University of Szeged in Hungary who is on a mission to reduce the mortality rate in our society by creating awareness about preventable and non-preventable diseases and empowering people with the necessary knowledge and information they need to take charge of their health. checkwithdoctoro.com was co-founded by her as a means to fulfilling this mission. She is an MDCN (Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria) and Hungarian Medical Chamber certified doctor. When she is not busy looking for ways to make a difference in her environment, you can find her trying out new recipes in the kitchen or touring the world.