Those statistics are truly mind boggling...and will it be your family member, friend, or youself? The number of cases are growing and unfortunately, even in the day and age of mammograms, women are being diagnosed in later stages than they should.
You MUST do monthly self breast exams. You MUST talk to your doctor and explain if you have a family history of breast cancer. You MUST get yearly mammograms beginning at age 40, earlier if you do have a family history. You MUST report any skin changes, lumps, bumps or discharge to your dr. IMMEDIATELY!
My life has been touched by so many women with breast cancer, both in my professional and personal life. I have seen cases caught early, just by chance on their yearly mammorgrams, and I have seen women who walked around with a lump for months, or even years, because they were told it was "nothing" who were then diagnosed at very late stages, and unfortunately are no longer here with us today.
In honor of "Breast Cancer Awarenesss" month I want to take this time to encourage women to please take the opportunity and get screened. If you have a lump, until it has been tested and confirmed by a doctor that it is definitely NOT cancer, do not ignore it. Do not believe it's "nothing," unless you have a report that confirms that in writing!
Get second opinions. Go for an ultrasound if there is a question on the mammogram. Keep talking to your dr. until you are reassured of your diagnosis.
If you don't have medical insurance and THAT is what is keeping you from getting your mammogram - call your local County Health Dept. MOST county health depts DO have free programs where they will provide mammograms for women who cannot afford one or do not have medical coverage!They are provided by the Health Dept and you are sent to local radiology groups and seen by drs., as any other woman with coverage would see. If you have a problem, they will help you and refer you to the appropriate dr. So there really is NO excuse to NOT get a mammogram yearly after age 40.
Breast cancer is treatable when caught early. The only way to catch it early is for you to do your monthly self breast exams AND to get your mammograms done! Why wait until the problem is much bigger than it has to be? Time matters when you are dealing with a cancer diagnosis.
For all of those women whose lives crossed mine, and who WISHED they were still here to tell you to take care of yourself and take charge of your healthcare, I ask you to PLEASE stay on top of your yearly mammograms and call your dr. IMMEDIATELY if you notice any changes at all in your breasts. It's better to be safe than sorry.
I will leave you with this final thought: "People should be afraid of the cancer, NOT the mammogram." - Nancy Reagan
And I cannot begin to tell you how TRUE that statement is.