As journalists, one part of our job is to find individuals who put a face to larger ideas, trends and issues. We know that people's individual stories help personalize these topics.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and for this week's paper, our reporters spoke with Louise Bowes, the owner of Flower Whispers who was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year (see story page 8). During the interview, Bowes recounted her battle with the illness and the treatments she underwent – and will continue to undergo. A few times during the interview, she emphasized the importance of life-saving procedures like mammograms.
Bowes' story is just one local experience with a prevalent disease. According to the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS), breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among Canadian women. The organization estimates that this year, 27,400 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 5,100 women will die from it.
As is often reiterated, cancer impacts everyone. A diagnosis is not only challenging for the patient who will battle the disease, but also for their family and friends who will support them throughout the ordeal.
With that in mind, we implore our readers to take the necessary steps to catch any type of cancer early. CCS recommends women between the ages of 50 and 74 receive a mammogram every two years. Women between the ages of 40 and 49 should talk to their doctor about the risks of breast cancer and whether or not they would benefit from having a mammogram at their age. While the procedure may be uncomfortable or painful, these screenings can detect the disease before symptoms develop.
For those not necessarily at risk of breast cancer, other cancers can be treated more easily if caught early. According to CCS, any changes to your body should prompt a visit to the doctor as soon as possible. Leading a healthy lifestyle can also play a key role in preventing the disease.