Advocating for Yourself: A Vital Guide During Breast Cancer Vol. 6

In 2012, when I first felt the lump in my breast, I encountered a situation that many of us face when it comes to our health: the need to advocate for ourselves. I was told repeatedly that it was nothing to be concerned about, but something within me knew that this was different. It wasn't just about the lump; it was about the feeling that something was off or wrong.

You see, the medical professionals I consulted with at that time were quick to dismiss my concerns without any proper testing. They simply told me not to worry and sent me on my way. But deep down, I couldn't accept that as the final answer. And I'm thankful I didn't. Looking back, I shudder to think where I might be today if I had let their assurances deter me from seeking further evaluation.

Here's the thing: you don't need a medical degree to know your own body. You have an innate sense of what feels right and what doesn't. When you feel that something is amiss, you have every right to question it. Advocating for yourself means not accepting someone else's reassurances when your gut tells you otherwise.

It's crucial to understand that you shouldn't let anyone dismiss your concerns without proper examination. If you feel that something is wrong, don't simply nod and say, "Okay, thank you." This isn't advocating for yourself. It's surrendering your health to someone else's judgment.

I've had these breasts for 35 years, and I knew that what I was feeling was different. Age should never be a factor in determining whether your concerns are valid. "Oh, you're only 35; it's too early for you to have cancer." That's an argument that simply doesn't hold water. Cancer doesn't adhere to age restrictions.

Another common excuse I heard was, "You have dense breast tissue, so it's probably nothing." The word "probably" should raise a red flag for anyone. If there's a possibility, no matter how remote, that something could be amiss, then it's your right and responsibility to ensure it's thoroughly investigated.

Advocating for yourself means seeking multiple opinions, if necessary. It also means not settling until you are satisfied with the answers you receive. It doesn't mean rejecting the professional advice given after thorough testing and evaluation. It means demanding that proper tests are conducted to confirm or dispel any concerns.

Because here's the truth: if you're right and they're wrong, the consequences of not advocating for yourself could be life-altering. Your health is worth fighting for, and you are your best advocate. Don't hesitate to seek the answers you need, even if it means challenging the opinions of others.

So, remember, when it comes to your health, your intuition matters. Your persistence matters. Your life matters. Advocate for yourself, because no one knows your body better than you do.

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