Monday, October 18, 2010

October: Breast Cancer Awareness Month

In the post I just wrote, I mentioned that I have these super cool statement shoe laces. I got mine at the Susan G. Komen website. They have white with pink and pink with white. I can't count how many times people have commented on the pink with white.

This segways into the main point: October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. You have probably seen pink ribbons everywhere. Even professional athletes are wearing something pink. I am a fan of the pink ribbons and all the other pink "reminder" items that appear in October.

However, all that pink means NOTHING if it does not promote action. We women MUST take care of ourselves! Please make sure you are having an annual exam by your doctor. Tell your doctor of any breast cancer history in your family. Ask what age your doctor feels you should begin receiving mammograms. If you don't like the answer, ask for one now.

You are your best champion and advocate. You must do monthly self breast exams. If you find a lump, call your doctor and ask for an appointment to have it checked. Don't feel you are overreacting. You know your body best!

Breast cancer also affects men, although rarely. Guys: If you find a lump in your chest, please follow the instructions above. I don't care if you lie about why you need an appointment with your doctor, but make one. Keep it. And go!

I'm not going to write about statistics and such since I don't know them. What I do know is that early detection is our best weapon. Think about it. How many types of cancer can we essentially diagnose ourselves? How many procedure are as simple as a mammogram, where you just get your boob smooshed? I am amazed at how relatively easy it all is, but how infrequently we do it. (Obviously there are additional tests and procedures that may be needed based on your mammogram results.But let's take one step at a time!)

Some time I will write about my personal experience but it is absolutely irrelevant to this particular post. But I am begging you, women and men alike, to do a self exam. And women, I beg of you to ask your doctor if it's time for a mammogram. You are not too busy. Make this a priority.

Next time you wear a pink ribbon or any other item designed to create breast cancer awareness, do so knowing you are taking care of your own breast health. Don't be a hypocrite.

Men, love the women in your life enough and give them the space to allow them to take care of themselves. Perhaps you could even go to her mammogram appointment and wait in the waiting room. For some reason, we women are kind of scared of it.

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