Breast Cancer Awareness Month Is The Perfect Time To Schedule A Check-Up
The arrival of October means that Breast Cancer Awareness Month has arrived, and there are many options to promote awareness and prevention. Let’s get started!
First of all, let’s salute our healthcare professionals who have been working tirelessly for almost two years now to provide effective, compassionate care in extraordinary circumstances. They are making sure that necessary tests and screenings, such as those for breast cancer, are happening in the midst of the pandemic’s many challenges. They, and many of you, are making sure that women don’t forget annual mammograms and self-exams which are important in breast cancer prevention.
Early detection makes all the difference
And it’s impossible to overstate the effectiveness of that vigilance. One in eight women are diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetimes, and when it’s detected early, in the localized stage, the American Cancer Society says the 5-year relative survival rate is 99 percent. That means monthly self-exams, regular clinical exams and mammograms are a woman’s first line of defense.
What should a woman look for? Again, the American Cancer Society lays it all out: breast pain, a lump or anything that feels unusual, for instance, could be the early signs that something’s out of the ordinary and should be looked at. A clinical exam, which often includes a mammogram, can quickly get to the bottom of what’s happening.
Avoid the myths, stick to the facts
It’s also important to separate the truth from inaccurate information that’s out there. For instance, not every breast lump is cancerous, but any change in breast tissue should be looked at by your physician. This does not exclude men, although a small percentage, they should be taking the same precautions.
Also, mammograms do not cause breast cancer to spread. Yes, there is a small amount of radiation exposure, but the risk of harm is extremely low, and the procedure is safe and remains the “gold standard” for early detection of breast cancer.
If you’re concerned about breast cancer, or are coping with a diagnosis, it’s vital to get educated and get support. The National Breast Cancer Foundation can connect you to both. Here’s a link to start finding support, and one to explore a huge range of their outstanding education materials.
Awareness, prevention, support and research are the way we fight back against breast cancer. We hope everyone is being vigilant about their breast health, and is able to show their support for friends, colleagues and family members who are dealing with breast cancer this month, and every month.