Your mom has just been diagnosed with breast cancer. The big C word. She kept postponing her mammogram because she was afraid she would have cancer and wouldn’t be able to take that. Now not only does she have cancer, but she has stage IV breast cancer that has spread to the lungs and bones. She is in pain and having shortness of breath when she walks down her driveway to get her mail each day.
Surgery is not an option. Chemotherapy is, which will likely only help to try and slow or halt the cancer growth but comes with its own risks and side effects. Her five-year outlook is completely altered. Limited time with family and friends. Decreased energy and decreased quality of life.
Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon story. Many people know someone, in their family or friend group, that has been diagnosed with breast cancer. What people may not realize is how important it is to get mammograms and follow the guidelines for screening. It can be life-saving! October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. One in eight women in the U.S. will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. This can be a scary statistic for people; however, through increased awareness, education, early screening, as well as advancements in oncology treatments, cancer can be detected at the earliest point. Now imagine that your mom followed the recommendations for early screening and did not put off her mammogram. Could that have made a difference? Yes.
According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, 62% of breast cancer cases are diagnosed at an early stage, for which there is a 99% five-year survival rate. It is through screening techniques and mammograms that enable people to catch the cancer early. This, in turn, enables people to receive treatment and close management over the years, treating their early-stage breast cancer similar to the
management of chronic disease, like diabetes. Women 40 and over should have a mammogram every one to two years. If younger than 40 but have any risk factors, like a family history of breast cancer, your primary care provider can help recommend screening prior to 40.
Don’t risk waiting, don’t postpone your mammogram, schedule your mammogram today and follow your primary care provider’s recommendations for breast cancer screening. The earlier breast cancer is detected, the better people do! Screening saves lives! It is your life, your families’ lives, and your friends’ lives. Knowledge is power so spread the word to your friends and family to schedule their mammograms today as well!