When I was first told that I may have breast cancer, I told my family and a few good friends. H and S counted amongst them - we all live in the village, our children play together and we spend a lot of time together. As is typical in these situations, they immediately booked themselves in for mammograms to make sure that they were both okay. Sadly, this was not the case: as it turns out, S also has invasive ductal carcinoma. She is due to start her chemotherapy next week.
The day before I went for Round 2, I received a telephone call from one of my oldest friends C, who's currently based in the United States. She was sat in her car, at the parking lot of her local hospital. She had just found a lump in her breast and was pretty distraught. Although she had not had a proper diagnosis, the radiographer had told her that she was pretty sure it was breast cancer, something which was clarified last Thursday.
People have come out of the woodwork to let me know that they, or someone close to them has had breast cancer: our postman's wife, the lady who does our ironing... As I mentioned in an earlier post, the statistics say that 1 in 8 women in the US and UK will get breast cancer. What is going on? Although deaths caused by breast cancer have gone down considerably, the incidence of breast cancer continues to rise. Breast cancer in the UK has increased by more than 50% in the last 25 years, and by 3.5% in the last ten years.
Initially, I tried to pinpoint factors that other victims and I have had in common, but have found nothing. Some may have had a genetic predesposition, but some to do not. Fertility treatment? Not all of us. Obesity? No. Smoking? None that I know of. I have since given up on trying to find an answer - it seems that like most cancers, this is as random as the rest.
This is frustrating me though - finding an answer would give me more control: of the possible outcome, or of a recurrence. If I know what had caused it in the first place, I could just stop it, simple as that. And not only that, I could do all I can to ensure that it doesn't happen to any of my loved ones. But as it is, it's all down to chance. Kismet. Fate. Destiny. So there is nothing I can do. Except live each day the best that I can, to the best of my ability. And drink gallons of green tea.