Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

9 December 2012

Tanzania: My Two Little Twin Towers

I should be ashamed actually for not yet going to check my breasts for cancer. Last month was breast cancer month and one of the leading hospitals in the country is offering free screening up to the end of December and I still have not taken my two short legs anywhere near the hospital located in Dar.

Whenever I see the gigantic billboard on the roadside I am as guilty as hell. Unlike some sisters who have nicknames for their breasts I particularly do not have any. Any attention drawn to my mammary glands must have been at the time they started sprouting before my teenage days stepped in.

But I was more secretly interested in starting other aspect of growing up and I was not amused that girls younger than me were started menstruating before I did. Such is life I was told as I could not rush Mother Nature. Right after joining secondary school it took the convincing of my classmates to get me to buy my first bra after arguing with my mother who wanted me to wait a little longer.

But even then I did not give my twin towers a second thought until I became an expectant mother so many years later. Together with the nausea that would not go away I noticed that the breasts changed and turn rather sensitive. At the time of birth no one warned me that the same natural assets will swell out of proportion and leak with milk.

Rather scary for the first few days as you try to adjust to the new lifestyle of being a mother with a demanding baby to look after. As a new mother you are given instructions left right and centre on how you should breast feed your baby. The dos and don'ts of holding the baby right and making sure the baby grasps the nipple well and ensuring that the baby burps after every feed.

Performing a nurturing function I was pleased that I had found a meaningful role for my boobs. Learning about the threats of breast cancer one would think we women would be more concerned about checking them on a regular basis even in the privacy of our homes but alas we do not.

Early detection is vital in managing breast cancer and we should not take it for granted that if the breasts look and feel good they are good. Let those of us who have not yet gone to screen our breasts do so. If you feel you can drag a relative or close friend along for moral support then do so but by all means get to the doctor even if you are feeling 100 percent fine.

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