October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. While breast cancer awareness is something that should be discussed all year round, this month we should especially take time to educate ourselves on the second most common kind of cancer found in women.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Did you know that about 1 in 8 women born in the United States will get breast cancer at some point? Shocking, right? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The good news is that most women survive breast cancer due to early detection and treatment, which is why it’s very important to know and understand when to get screened. A mammogram is the easiest and most effective way to detect the cancer early on. While it’s important for women of all ages to schedule regular mammograms, it’s crucial for anyone over 40 as annual mammography screenings are encouraged at this age.
It’s also important to know your risk. If you have family members who have had breast cancer (especially a mother or sister) and if they had breast cancer before reaching menopause, your own risk of cancer may be higher than average. Some women who experience this high risk are recommended for an annual MRI in addition to a mammogram.
Most importantly, don’t put off getting a screening done because of fear of the results or discomfort from the test. A mammogram isn’t painful and shouldn’t ever cause discomfort. Try to schedule the exam after your monthly period, when tissue is less sensitive. If you’re still experiencing pain, be honest with your doctor about any discomfort you feel. Also, please remember that most abnormalities found in a mammograms aren’t cancer, so there isn’t any reason to be alarmed if the test doesn’t appear “normal.”
National Breast Cancer Awareness month is an opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of early detection and with the proper self care and education you can be sure to remain safe and healthy.