Warding Off CancerMarch 28, 2011 No Comments
For women with a certain history, breast cancer seems like an unshakable curse placed on all the daughters in the line. Everything is shadowed by this black cloud. You know, as your try on your first bikini, that one day you might not be able to fill it out. You wonder if breast feeding your children will ever be an option. You feel guilty for leaving your husband a widow.
The tests for breast cancer are the worst mixture of stressful and inconclusive. Yet women at risk get their mammograms and hold their breath, afraid to let it out until the results come back — nothing yet, I hope.
Yet there is something else these women can do other than watch and wait, a shield, however flimsy, against the sword of Damocles.
There are drugs that can help prevent breast cancer from developing. In the United States, tamoxifen and raloxifene have been approved for this use, yet the UK continues to drag her heels.
However, the drugs do have some particularly nasty side effects, including womb cancer, blood clots and stroke. As a result, it should only be offered to women who are at greater risk. And this is far from a silver bullet, it decreases the number of women who get breast cancer by only about 20 in 1000.
If your only other option is to watch for signs that the Grim Reaper is on his way, it is something tangible to cling to. It is a little something — a modern talisman to ward off the fate of a early, cancerous death, while we wait for modern medicine to find a real drug.
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