There it was, an abnormal lump in my body. What does this mean? I thought to myself. The optimist in me wanted to brush it off because it can’t possibly be something serious, but the realist in me knew that I had to make an appointment with the doctor ASAP.

Upon examining me, the doctor assured me that I was not to worry. She said that it was just fibroadenoma which is a solid, noncancerous breast tumor that most often occur in adolescent girls and women under the age of 30. She also told me to monitor any changes in my body and come see her on an annual basis.

Months passed by and my health deteriorated, I was losing weight, my appetite changed, I was always tired and fainted on several occasions. I consulted countless doctors who didn’t have an explanation for what was happening to me. My body was telling me that something was wrong, but what could it be?

A year had passed since my last check up and my lump doubled in size. Do fibroadenomas grow? Can they turn cancerous? Should I have it removed? Questions, worries and concerns were racing through my mind and I just knew I had to see my doctor again.

I found myself on the examination table again and this time I wasn’t so calm. The doctor didn’t want to answer any of my questions before thoroughly examining what was now a 2 cm lump. My report came out after a series of ultrasounds and painful needle biopsies and my doctor had the answer.

“It’s positive.” Said the doctor. “Positive for what,” I replied. I knew it was a stupid question and I knew what she meant but I couldn’t wrap my head around what I was hearing, I needed to hear her say the words, “You have cancer.” And she did.

I have what is called invasive ductal carcinoma and it is the most common type of breast cancer. It was caught relatively early and I cannot stress enough on the importance of early detection; every woman should take their annual mammograms more seriously. It could save your life, like I’m hoping it would save mine.

Mneera is a 27 year old Bahraini who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. She is currently living in Manhattan, New York for treatment. To get in touch with Mneera email her at mneera.abdulla@gmail.com

You can continue to  follow Mneera’s weekly column talking about her journey with breast cancer, and read the 2nd installment here.

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