It's National Breast Cancer Awareness month here in the United States and this is an issue that affects all of us, even males… be it our sisters or our mothers or wives/girlfriends. That's exactly what Mastodon bassist Troy Sanders realized earlier this year. Sanders posted a message on the band's official site revealing his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year:
A message from Troy:
Although I generally keep to myself and am very private with my personal life, I recognize this as something bigger than me and needs to be shared.
My wife Jeza was diagnosed with breast cancer in July of this year.
She has already begun treatment and her prognosis is very, very good.
EARLY DETECTION SAVED HER LIFE!
It may save your life, too.
Please encourage the ladies in your life to get screened today.
Thank you … –Troy & Jeza
Troy's wife, Jeza, also chimed in with a message to women to go get screened:
Breast cancer runs in my family so I've been neurotically checking and re-checking since my early 30's (now 41). I have yearly mammograms like clockwork. This year was no exception. Nevertheless, it came as a complete shock when just a few short months later I felt a big, fat, weird mass. I immediately ran, clutching my boobs, to the nearest gynecologist who sent me for a diagnostic mammogram & ultrasound and was diagnosed shortly thereafter with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (&%#[email protected]!!!). I was told that this was the "common" type of breast cancer – as if this was somehow supposed to make me feel better and less cancer-y. This particular type starts in the milk ducts and spreads into the surrounding tissue. I should mention that depending on the location of the tumor it sometimes has to become a certain size before you can feel it and can often times be entirely undetectable by mammography because the tumor itself blends in with the breast tissue (as was my case in both scenarios).
I was anxious to get it out of me as fast as humanly possible and to start the treatment after as little healing time as possible. I chose breast conservation (known also as lumpectomy). However, I have yet to be genetically tested for the BRCA gene. If positive, a bilateral (double) mastectomy is recommended. Having technically defied death at this point, I can accept and face just about anything. My boobs served their original and intended purpose magnificently, not to mention having looked pretty cute in alarmingly small bathing suits so I have come to terms with bidding them farewell if necessary.
As of this moment though, I face treatment. Having lived all this time blissfully unaware of my own mortality and now being faced with it, I'll do absolutely anything to survive. Breast cancer is one of the most researched cancers and for that I feel immensely lucky and eternally grateful. Early detection is optimum, although with all of the advances in science, even later detection can be highly treatable, which leads me to my initial reason for writing this:
No matter how old or how young you are, always listen to your body and always pay attention to your intuition. Over 85% of women who get breast cancer do not have a family history and are taken by complete surprise. There is no rhyme or reason to these malignant cells, so in addition to yearly mammograms please do monthly self checks and if you ever notice anything unusual, have it looked at by your doctor. If for whatever reason they disregard it, get a second opinion. You are your only advocate and awareness is everything. Everything.
Empower yourself, take control and read about the signs and symptoms and early detection atwww.nationalbreastcancer.org –Jeza