October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, just in case that you did not realize why you see so many pink ribbons on mailboxes and doors. According to the Georgia Breast Cancer Coalition, breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among women in the U.S., slightly behind heart disease.
Ladies, this statistic is a wake-up call if you have not been having an annual mammogram, especially if you have a history of breast cancer in your family. You are valuable as a wife, partner, mother, sister, and caretaker of others. Schedule an annual mammogram as one of your top priorities.
The good news is that the five-year survival rate for breast cancer is 99.9 percent if caught in Stages 0-1. Today, over 3.8 million breast cancer survivors are in the U.S. However, please consider that one in eight U.S. women have a chance of developing breast cancer, thus the regular practice of an annual mammogram. This exam can detect breast cancer, even when you can’t feel the lump yourself. Although women need to be cautious of breast cancer if they have a mother, aunt, grandmother or other relative who has had breast cancer, the fact is that 90 percent of breast cancer patients have no family history of the disease.
Recommendations are to have an annual mammogram for those 50 years and older, since this age group comprises more than 77 percent of all breast cancer cases. To be safe, consider talking to your doctor about an annual mammogram before age 50, since that other 23 percent are younger.
Every year, 287,850 women are diagnosed with breast cancer, as well as 2,700 men, according to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. It is estimated that at least one million women do not know yet that they have the disease. That is why the annual mammogram for early detection is so vital to the resulting survival rate.
Cancer treatments, admittedly, are not pleasant, but the chance for survival surely overwhelms the inconvenience and discomfort that accompanies the radiation and chemo treatments. Just be thankful that in the U.S. we have treatments so readily available and accessible. Schedule your mammogram with your health care provider today!