Contrary to the old saying, what you don't know can hurt you. In fact, it can kill you.
Cancer is one of those things.
Hearing a doctor tell you the word is like taking a brick in the forehead, yet it's the best thing that can happen in the circumstance, because knowing you have cancer is the most important step in surviving it.
For women, breast cancer is a particularly horrifying contemplation. There are thoughts of possible disfigurement, stories of chemotherapy and radiation reactions, the possibility that it can be a death sentence.
None of those things are absolute certainties, especially when the diagnosis comes early.
Regular breast examinations, mammograms are key. Getting yourself to a doctor at the first sign of a lump anywhere on the breast is imperative. The fear of a diagnosis should not prevent you from hearing it. It is only then that an ocologist, working with other cancer specialists, can employ the latest procedures for saving your breast and saving your life.
Women in Warren County are especially lucky to have the Warren General Hospital's Cancer Treatment Center close at hand. If not for that center, those women who have heard the word would be traveling to
Erie, Buffalo or Pittsburgh frequently for the same treatments.
Although there are certain factors that increase the risk for breast cancer, it's difficult to pinpoint an exact cause. In that respect, whether or not a woman contracts breast cancer is largely a crap shoot. All we can do is watch for it.
Inside today's paper is a special edition dedicated to the discovery, treatment and cure of breast cancer.
Each year as new treatments are introduced, the general prognosis improves, but only when women seek out preventive screening and treatment.
There are hundreds of women in Warren County who have beaten cancer, including breast cancer. It can be done, but only if you are vigilant.