BEAT BREAST CANCER: It’s time to “Think Pink!”
In case you didn’t already realize it due to the pink ribbons plastered all across America, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The best way to get serious about breast cancer and prevention is by scheduling a mammogram. Administering a monthly self-exam in the shower is a healthy habit, BUT mammograms can detect 85 to 90% of all breast cancers, even before you can feel a lump during that "self-exam." Breast cancer is most treatable at that point.
October is the perfect time to educate yourself about breast cancer symptoms. Breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer in American women, affecting one in eight during their lifetime and killing one in 25. Other than the obvious lump or painful mass, other symptoms may be just as dangerous such as swelling (even without a lump), irritation and redness, or discharge. The American Cancer Society has additional details: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/about/breast-cancer-signs-and-symptoms.html.
Don’t think mammograms should stop when you retire. If you are 60+ and haven't had a mammogram in a while – this may be a good opportunity to check with your doctor.
Currently, the average risk of a woman in the United States developing breast cancer sometime in her life is about 12%. The risk of breast cancer increases with age, and the age at which a woman enters menopause can also impact her risk as can genetics, family history, weight, alcohol consumption, and lifestyle. The disease is much more common than you would think in women aged 60 and older, in fact according to the Susan G. Komen organization, the median age of diagnosis of breast cancer for women in the U.S. is 62. Screening guidelines for breast cancer from the American Cancer Society are as follows:
- Women age 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year.
- Women 55 and older should switch to mammograms every 2 years, or continue yearly screening where appropriate.
If your current age is 60, the probability of developing invasive breast cancer in the next 10 years is 3.49%, or 1 in 29. If your current age is 70, the probability of developing invasive breast cancer in the next 10 years is 3.84%, or 1 in 25. Regular mammography is recommended for women aged 65 to 74, according to the American Cancer Society.
Among women aged 75 to 84, those who had annual mammograms were less likely to die from breast cancer over a 10-year period than those who had irregular or no mammograms, according to a study published in the American Journal of Medicine.
Don’t let fees or fear be a factor preventing you from having a mammogram, many are free or low cost.
Medicare Part B and most insurance companies cover the cost of mammograms. The Komen Breast Care Helpline at 877 GO KOMEN, can help you find low-cost options in your area.
New technology means medical mammography equipment is faster, results are timely, and the process much less painful.
Now that we have you convinced, please make a mammography appointment for you and for your Mother! If you or your loved one need assistance getting to your physician, pharmacy, therapy appointment or mammogram appointment, Visiting Angels driving assistance services may be helpful. Contact Kelly Anvari at 714-379-4546 to find out more or visit https://www.visitingangels.com/gardengrove/home
Till Next Time!
This article is not intended as medical, legal, or financial advice.