Storytelling dates back to ancient times. But it’s what we know about “story” It’s the power to Influence, Engage, Teach, Compel and Inspire its listeners. A reason why this age-old past time just might be a game-changer, saving a life in the fight against Breast Cancer!
Faith M Whittier M.D.
The Miracles of storytelling date back to ancient cultures
Stories as far as we can tell date back to very ancient times of Paleolithic man and cave paintings that may have told stories of their ancient rituals. Researchers believe these caves were carefully selected choosing spots where the acoustics were crisp and clear magnifying their chanting, captivating and gripping the human mind in story. Today, we have the technology and sound acoustics that amplify the human voice still so effectively having the ability of mesmerizing audiences listening sharing in the miracles and the power of story.
One important detail of a lasting story perhaps a key ingredient is an innate ability to grip and captivate its listeners. As happened to me on my drive to work one morning. I happened to be flipping through the channels on my radio when I heard “Cancer”, not surprising after all this is the celebrated month of Breast Cancer Awareness. Pausing, for a minute to listen I quickly recognized I was listening to a personal story by Mr. Mathew Knowles of his Breast Cancer diagnosis. I suppose being the Father of one of the biggest celebrities known to man might have been reason enough to pause and listen, and it might have been for many. But for me, it was the sincerity, openness, and vivid details of his story that he so kindly and graciously shared that were so moving. Resonating with his listeners connecting you in a way as if it were your own story or that of a loved one, as is the power of storytelling
A realization that he was sharing something so very personal he could have, after all, chosen simply to share his diagnosis maybe a brief press release stating he had been diagnosed with male breast cancer. No, instead he chose to share his personal vivid story in the hopes and gracious expectations that the details would help others. He described his initial awareness about Breast Cancer dating back to a job he had in the 1980’s selling Mammography equipment, to noticing drops of blood on his shirt recanting this to his wife who surprisingly shared also noticing bloodstains on their bedsheets while washing causing him to quickly pause and reflect on his family history a Maternal Aunt who had died of Breast cancer as well as two Maternal cousins passing of the same disease, Asking himself the obvious question could there be a connection to all of these frightening findings? Details he quickly put together and realized he had a definite reason to be concerned and to seek immediate medical attention.
We are always grateful when people are kind enough to share their stories in whatever detail they may be comfortable sharing. After all, stories of sickness, illness and human mortality are quite personal and frankly hard to share. We embrace the courage that it takes when deciding to let others in on your personal private journey we are grateful and realize the power it has to save and change lives. Often causing one to reflect on personal symptoms noticed or remembering an important detail a family member or friend may have shared quite possibly initiating proactive changes that may not have happened had it not been sparked from the power of another’s story
As we celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness month and all the courageous women diagnosed and fighting the fight we should also celebrate the men too, often the hidden faces of breast cancer. A rare disease occurring in fewer than 1% of all cancer diagnoses worldwide with a male’s lifetime risk of developing the disease of 1 in 833. A statistic that might be drastically higher in a male with a strong family history of Breast Cancer, as was the case of Mr. Knowles who also shared he had tested positive for BRCA gene putting himself and his offspring at a greater lifetime risk for developing Breast Cancer than the general population. BRCA Test For Breast And Ovarian cancer
Male Breast Cancer 4 symptoms you should never ignore and seek immediate medical attention for!
- A painless lump of any size or thickening of your breast tissue
- Skin changes dimpling, redness, scaling, or swelling
- Nipple retraction or discharge from the nipple
- Swelling in the Lymph Nodes or fullness under the arm
Storytelling could be a game-changer in the fight to save a life!
We know storytelling has been used since the beginning to engage but it turns out there is also real science behind it’s power to influence, teach and inspire those that are listening Princeton Neuroscientist Uri Hasson writes ” A story is the only way to activate parts of the brain so that a listener turns the story into their own idea and experience” There is also studies behind the impact of narratives and stories for shaping health policies Using narratives to impact health policy-making: a systematic review.
The pink ribbons and marathoners we’ve cheered on this October will certainly be reminders of those affected by Breast Cancer as we continue to grow awareness for this disease. As October winds to a close let us not forget those courageous ones that have traveled the journey and were willing to tell their stories of diagnosis, fight, recovery, surviving and dying with grace and dignity all stories with the power to connect, saving lives of loved ones, friends and strangers. Not just a story, but a game-changer in the fight to save a life.
Storytelling and Healing got your attention? Then check out these additional post The Healing Power of Storytelling, The Science Behind The Healing Power of Storytelling, The Healing Power Of Storytelling
Photos Courtesy of Unsplash
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