Yes, October is known for Halloween. But I want to take the time to remind everyone that it’s also National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Breast cancer has become very near and dear to my heart since last October (I promise to make this short). For years, because it's Breast Cancer Awareness month, I would get my mammogram in October because all the hype reminded me. Yes, I would skip a year, here or there, but I knew it was October and I had to go through that torture again. But I did it! There are no excuses to forget or skip a mammogram, and here’s why…
Yup, you guessed it—last October I was diagnosed with breast cancer… one of the most terrifying things any woman can hear at any age! I thought to myself, "Now what?"
There was no history of breast cancer in my family that I knew of. Who would’ve thought? Well, I hadn’t talked to my paternal relatives in years, and recently that side of the family started Facebook friending me. I rarely ever go on Facebook but I accepted. Then my cousin, who is my age, posted "9 years cancer free" with the pink ribbon. It turns out three of my aunts and another cousin all had mastectomies! Who knew?
Enough about me. The point is that I can’t stress enough the importance of a yearly mammogram after the age of 40. Your doctor may want you to get one earlier dependent on your family history. The risks of breast cancer increase with age. When's the last time you had a mammogram?
There are many factors associated:
Family historyOnset of menstrual cycle before age 12Onset of menopause after age 55High breast tissue densityNever conceiving or giving birthIf your mom took the synthetic hormone DES during her pregnancy to prevent miscarriageAlcohol use
Do self-exams regularly. Get to know the look and feel of your breasts. Any irregularities should not be ignored. Get your mammogram annually!
Early detection is the key to excellent chances of no further complications. I cannot stress this enough. No excuses! Get an annual mammogram!! Take care of your "girls." Be good to yourself and do this for YOU. What are you waiting for?
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