Working Healthy

As I See It: Breast Cancer: A Democratic Disease

The truth is, you’re never too young, too old, too rich, too poor; or too healthy to develop breast cancer.

When I was 17, the mother of one of my high school friends died of breast cancer. I was shocked and scared — what if it was my mom?— but the disease remained a mystery to me, a remote possibility like lightning striking you down. At the time I didn’t realize just how widespread the disease is, and that anyone can get it, whether or not she is genetically predisposed. The truth is, you’re never too young, too old, too rich, too poor; or too healthy to develop breast cancer. Now that I’m well into my adult years I have had the unfortunate experience to know many women afflicted with the disease and I’ve seen that it is not at all discriminating in whom it touches. It is an equal-opportunity tragedy.

Ours is an industry of women. Ninety seven percent of licensed nail technicians are female, and many of the primary companies are run (or co-run) by women. If any industry ought to be well-informed about breast cancer, it’s ours.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month (sponsored by the American Cancer Society). Their message is that breast cancer is 100% curable if it’s detected early enough. You can call them at (800) ACS-2345 to find out what you should do based on your age and medical history.

A simple monthly breast self-exam and an annual checkup are the best things any woman can do. If it’s that simple, we should all be doing it and sharing that advice with other women.

Read Lesa Perry’s story on page 54 for personal insight into what happens when breast cancer hits home. She faced the fight of her life, and learned in the process how truly blessed she was to have the friends she had developed in her nail career.

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