The annual walk and candlelight memorial at the Aventura Hospital & Medical Center is just shy of the one year mark for which my mother lost her battle to breast cancer. We gather to celebrate life and promote continued awareness of breast cancer prevention.
In my mother’s case, we never saw the warning signs. She would schedule her yearly mammogram and the results always came back “normal”; until the day, they didn’t. By the time she was diagnosed, the cancer was already advanced and spread to her lymph nodes. Visits to the oncology department became part of our routine and, although the doctors did what they could, she did not take to the treatment.
I was 35 years old when my mother passed. I am one of four children; therefore, our mother’s passing had a minimal financial impact although the emotional toll was indescribable.
Losing my mother at the age of 60 years old reminded me how precious and fragile life really is. Cancer does not discriminate; given my genetic connection, as well as a family who depends on me, I was encouraged to take actions to be prepared.
Education was the first on my preparedness checklist. What are the warning signs and symptoms of breast cancer?*
- A lump, hard knot or thickening of the breast or underarm
- Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening of the breast tissue
- Changes in size or shape
- Dimpling of the skin
- Changes to the nipple or surrounding area
- The onset of sudden discharge
- Constant pain in one spot of the breast
Knowing the warning signs, I felt confident in performing a monthly self-examination.
Having a genetic predisposition increases the risk; however, there are many screening and diagnostic tools that should be used, not only to ease the mind, but to catch the illness in its early stages.
- A self-administered breast exam should be performed by all women to look for any of the aforementioned warning signs.
- Clinical breast exams are conducted by your health care provider. It is recommended that these exams begin at the age of 20 years old.
- Mammography is the best screening tool to finding cancer in its early stages and are recommended for women 40+ (earlier screens may be ordered dependent upon risk & symptoms)
- A Breast MRI may be recommended by your health care provider if you are at a higher risk.
There is a great amount of hope in early detection as the five-year survival rate is 98%!
Committing to an early detection plan was not only for myself but for my husband and young daughter, Ava.
There was one more thing I knew I needed to do, something that I had put off for some time. A few weeks after the vigil, I walked into my local credit union branch to deposit a check. In the entryway stood a PFP | The Family Security Plan® Representative; I had seen him before and always welcomed his warm greeting, but never stopped.
I didn’t have time. I was in a rush. I don’t need it. Some of my most common excuses.
Today I stopped. The Keurig was brewing and I accepted a warm cup of coffee as we sat down to chat.
You are telling me, that with PFP | The Family Security Plan® critical illness policy, I will receive a lump sum benefit upon first diagnosis of an illness such as cancer? I can use the funds for anything: medical costs uncovered by my insurance, daily living expenses if I am out of work, as a replacement for lost income?
PFP | The Family Security Plan® Representative walked me through the enrollment process. When I signed on that final line, I felt a surge of peace of mind. If anything were to happen to me, like it did my mother, I, my husband and young Ava would not need to worry financially and a world of treatment options would open.
I know that by protecting my family that day, I made my mother proud.
We are here for you and your family!
You are worth protecting! Let PFP | The Family Security Plan® help protect you and your family. Our Critical Illness insurance policy provides a lump sum cash benefit paid directly to you upon the first diagnosis of a covered critical illness. Upon diagnosis, we send a check directly to you. You can use your cash benefit however you choose. To help with everyday living expenses, pay out-of-pocket medical costs or replace lost income. Your benefit is paid in full regardless of any other insurance you may have.
For more information on critical illness coverage, visit our Critical Illness Insurance page or call 855-789-4976 to speak with a dedicated PFP | The Family Security Plan® Representative.
*Susan G. Komen, ww5.komen.org
**National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc.