Hey there BFF’s…Every October I get my mammogram. I use the pink ribbon as my reminder just like using the month of October to remind us to change the batteries in our smoke detectors. It’s something easy that we can all do for ourselves and is a huge step towards early detection. Like you, I’m not crazy about having my small breasts squished in between those horrible paddles but I always know it only last a few minutes and it is way better than the alternative. On the bright side, being pink, it’s always fun to show up at the radiology center and meet new friends.
I have a staggering fact for you…did you know that 80% of breast cancers don’t run in families? That means that most of us are at risk for it even though no one in our family had it. So, what can we do to stay on top of early detection? With all of the controversy over when to start mammograms, the prevailing opinions are still recommending that screening mammograms begin at age 40 and continue each year thereafter. What has divided some on this issue is the fact that most women who get breast cancer are menopausal so the radiation exposure from mammograms beginning at age 40 versus the number of women diagnosed before the age of 50 may not be worth the risk. Everyone has to make the decision that is right for them. Regardless where you fall on this, just be sure to actually schedule your mammogram and not wait until you get around to it ;)
But did you know that there is another way to detect changes in your breast? I believe that breast self exams done properly can be effective. I know there is controversy over the effectiveness of these exams, but I’m here to tell you that my BFF, Kathy McEvoy, found her own tumor just three weeks after her mammogram came back negative. Her tumor was located at the sternum which could not be detected by a mammogram. Be sure to check the extreme perimeters of the breast when doing your breast self exams. Share this with your friends too, she was lucky and caught it because it would never be detected on a mammogram. So if you had any doubts about self exams, think if her.
So, as you can see, there are differing views on these simple preventative measures. The way I look at it, our breasts are one of the few organs we can actually examine ourselves and if we do it on a regular basis we become intimate with them and know when any changes occur. As we saw with my BFF, her tumor would never show up on a mammogram, which could be any of us. So let’s get intimate, know your girls!
I’m having lots of fun in October….how are you wearing your pink this month?