Breast Cancer Awareness Month
By Kristy Smith
It’s October, and along with all things pumpkin spice and (hopefully soon) dropping temperatures, October also means Breast Cancer Awareness Month. According to the American Cancer Society website, “breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women, except for skin cancers.” Even though it is common, breast cancer can be treated, and that treatment has a high success rate particularly if found early. One method of early detection is the mammogram.
I know. It’s scary. You don’t wanna get your boobies smashed. You don’t want to think about the implications of the results. But, let me tell you, and I can speak from experience, it doesn’t hurt. Not really. It’s uncomfortable, sure. But, many hospitals do their best to make the procedure as smooth and painless as possible (the location I use gives warm robes and refreshments in a private female-only pre-screening waiting area – it’s not the Ritz, but it helps soothe the nerves). And, as far as the results are concerned, yes, it’s scary to think about what we might find out after the exam, but knowledge really does equal power. Regardless of the outcome, you will have the knowledge and the power to move forward – whether that simply means scheduling your well-woman exam and mammogram for next year, or making appointments to get further tests and taking steps to managing your health.
Another reason to get it done: it’s free. Usually. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), annual well-woman exams, including mammograms, must be covered at no cost to the patient (there are always exceptions to these rules, so be sure to contact your insurance and health care providers to confirm). There are many locations in the Katy area that provide these services. Click the map link below for more information.
The American Cancer Society website is a great, fact-based resource for guidelines and information regarding all aspects of breast cancer, from determining your risk level to early detection screening and healthy living; and it includes many resources for living with a breast cancer diagnosis and managing your treatment.
It’s not easy to talk about breast cancer, but we must. The more comfortable we are talking about it, the more likely we’ll be to act on it and make responsible, healthy decisions.
Links to topics discussed in this article are provided below, or you can contact your primary care physician for more information. Be certain when you’re sleuthing online to use sites that are reputable and deliver fact-based information. There are plenty of myths and misconceptions regarding breast cancer, early detection screening and mammograms, so make sure you’re getting accurate information. Then, call and schedule an appointment.
ACS Early Detection Screening Recommendations
ACS Staying Healthy Guidelines
ACS How Common is Breast Cancer?
ACA Mammogram Coverage Information
Map of Katy Area Mammogram Imaging Centers
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