October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. While most people are aware of breast cancer, many forget to take the steps for early detection and encourage others to do the same. A lot of progress has been made but we all need to participate to ensure we give everyone a fighting chance!
For me this fight is personal. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 through a mammogram and endured surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments while experiencing numerous side effects. I am more than five years out and have beaten cancer! But it is a fight I will never forget. (Read more here.)
What many don’t realize is that for cancer patients, overcoming the disease doesn’t end the fight. Many women face self-image issues due to permanent scars and loss of sensation due to nerve damage throughout their upper body. When treatment ends, women often don’t have a support system to help them process the anxiety that naturally arises with every strange tweak or pain. And the reality is, it can come back.
The best treatment is prevention of course so eat right, exercise regularly and generally make smart decisions regarding health. Early detection, which requires less invasive treatment, is the next best thing.
Encourage the women in your life to get their annual mammogram at the same place every year, at the same time, and to have it done at a place that specializes in mammograms. Many abnormalities are detected by the change in tissue so comparisons and an expert eye are really important.
Cancer doesn’t discriminate so don’t take chances–get a mammogram this month!