Tuesday, October 11, 2011

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the first question that needs to be asked of women is, "Have you had your mammogram this year?" Seems like an overly obvious, even unnecessary question to ask, but it is not. How many women put off this yearly screening for various reasons such as, "I'm just too busy to do it" or "I don't have insurance" or "I'm healthy, I'll do it next year or the year after that". Statistics show us that skipping your Mammogram is not a gamble women should take. The statistics from from the American Cancer Society for 2011 bear this reality out.
How many cases and deaths are estimated to occur in 2011?
• In 2011, an estimated 230,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed among women, as well as an estimated 57,650 additional cases of in situ breast cancer.

• In 2011, approximately 39,520 women are expected to die from. Only lung cancer accounts for more cancer deaths in women.

The old proverb, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" is so true, and when it comes to breast cancer, early detection is so very important for women. I know this from first hand knowledge, as my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer...she/we were lucky. She was diagnosed at the earliest possible stage (stage 0), but that diagnose still forever changed her life, forever changed my own.

The good news for her, is she is now more than three years post treatment (lumpectomy and six weeks of radiation) still cancer free. The bad news is there is always that shoe waiting too drop, each new ordered test by her team seeing that question looming in the air unspoken, "What if?"

A close friend was not so lucky. She had put off her yearly mammograms, ignored certain warning signs until it was too late...she did not have breast cancer, but instead Stage IV lung cancer that had metastasized to her brain...it was not until she had a seizure at work, was taken to the ER to be safe that the diagnosis was made. She passed away earlier this year at the age of 53, leaving behind a young son who had already lost his dad to cancer. Perhaps the end result for her would have been the same, but what if early detection had given her far better odds of surviving her own battle with cancer, or at least extended her life for years, rather than the months she ended up having?

Please, cancer is not something to gamble with, and the inconvenience of that yearly mammogram for women over 40 is worth it...please, don't gamble with your life when it comes to Breast Cancer and early detection...get the Mammogram and men, make sure the women (Mom's, daughters, wives, or significant others) in your life get a yearly Mammogram.

For More Information, Please Visit These Great Sites

Susan G. Komen for the Cure Website
National Breast Cancer Awareness Month Website.
National Breast Cancer Foundation Website