October is National Breast Cancer awareness. So many have lost their lives, and so many are still fighting this brutal disease. I want to take this opportunity to highlight the importance of breast cancer screening.
Breast cancer screening is a way in which doctors check the breasts for early signs of cancer in women who have no symptoms of breast cancer. The main test used to screen for breast cancer is a special kind of X-ray called a mammogram.
The goal of breast cancer screening is to find cancer early before it has a chance to grow, spread, or cause problems.
Who should be screened for breast cancer?
Starting at the age of 40, it’s important to talk to your doctor about the benefits and drawbacks of screening and decide, with your doctor’s help, whether to get screening and when. If you’re under 40 but have a relative who got breast cancer at a young age, you should also talk to your doctor.
Women who are at high risk of breast cancer might need to begin screening at a younger age. This might include women who:
Carry genes that increase their risk of breast cancer, such as the “BRCA” genes
Have close relatives (such as a mother, sister, or daughter) who got breast cancer at a young age
What happens during a mammogram?
Before the mammogram, you will be asked to undress from the waist up and put on a hospital gown. Then your breasts will be X-rayed one at a time. Each breast is X-rayed twice. Each is X-rayed once from the top down and once from side-to-side so that the radiologist can get a good look at all the tissue. To make the breast tissue easier to see, a nurse or technician will flatten each breast between 2 panels.
This can be uncomfortable, but it lasts only a few seconds. If possible, avoid scheduling your mammogram just before or during your period. Breasts are extra sensitive at that time. Also, do not use underarm deodorant or powder on the day of your appointment.
Some Facts about breast cancer in the United States
One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among women
FACT: When Breast cancer is detected early, the 5-year survival rate is 100%
Together we can beat breast cancer, act, stay informed, know your body and report any sign.
Breast cancer screening is so important. It’s just a shame it is not offered earlier – 50 may be too late for some women…
Kate, one important screening for us women is doing monthly breast self-exam.
My mom had a scare earlier this year and had to have extra views done. Her grandmother had breast cancer, so she’s considered at a higher risk, but I am not right now. I just turned 30 this year so I have 10 years until I start getting mine annually.
I am 35 and I have been getting screenings since I was 29. My bilogical mother (I was raised by another wonderful mother) died at age 34 when I was just 20 months old. I pray that I am never diagnosed but I am still checking. Wonderful post.
I am confident that we will find a cure, Morgan, in the meantime, we have to be proactive and screening can make a huge difference.
Great cause and so glad to see you raising awareness this October. Good on you and may the word get out there.
Wonderful and motivating reading! Since I turned 40 I never forget to do my yearly check up and of course including breast cancer screening and mammogram.
I feel badly that I didn’t know this. It’s always a good time to talk about cancer and what we can do to fight it and be supportive of those who suffer with it. Love your bringing more information to light.
Such a great and life-saving reminder. My aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer and is doing fine now thank God. I’ll have to ask my mom and other aunts if they’ve had their mammograms this year.
This is such an important post; thanks for writing it, Marjie! I had my first mammogram well before age 40, having lost a grandmother to breast cancer when she was barely 50.
I am so sorry, Flossie, for the bast 5 years, I have been doing the breast cancer walk, for all those wonderful women who had lost the battle against breast cancer.
1 – 8 is pretty high odds. I have a couple of friends who began screening in their teens because of how often it was in their families. It’s sad and yet I am thankful for them sharing their experiences with me so I would be better aware of my own health.
The more we know about it, the more we can take action, Angela.
All health screenings are so important. Especially as we get older, it’s important for self checks and regular checks with a health professional.
I agree, Di!
Breast cancer is the second most common kind of cancer in women. About 1 in 8 women born today in the United States will get breast cancer at some point.
The stats are alarming!
WOW! Great informative post. My aunt and grandmother suffered from breast cancer. Testing is huge!
Prevention, early detection is the best way to fight it, Ashley!
Great reminder, thank you. Fortunately, where I live, the medical facilities have newer machines that are not at all uncomfortable like these old machines! Whew! More incentive to get a mammogram!
Thanks for your comment, Jenny, also I try to remind my members, the importance of monthly breast self-exam.
This is such an important month to spread awareness, but I think it should be a huge focus all year round and not just for one month.
My 22 year old daughter is getting screened next week. Its important.
Thank you for making a post on breast cancer awareness. I have never known that October is an awareness month and I learnt new things related to breast cancer.
For me, seeing the statistic of 1 in 8 women is really eye opening. Screenings are so important with the survival rate being high if caught early.
Thank you for raising awareness. I didn’t realise it wasn’t a good idea to wear deodorant when having a mammogram. Thanks for sharing.
Really informative and well explained. I’m so happy people are talking about breast cancer more and women are no longer being shamed. We need to remove the fear of getting a mammogram because it’s better than getting cancer.
It is heartbreaking to realize that 1 in 8 women will get breast cancer. As if women didn’t go through enough already. However, it is very uplifting to know that this can be discovered early and fought. Thank you for sharing!
Thank you for your feedback.
This is such a great reminder. Thanks for explaining the process of mammogram. It is so important to get yourself checked regularly.
I had my first every mammogram early this year before the pandemic and my experience was excruciating. I felt traumatized about it.
Great awareness! Especially for women of all ages!
No one wants it, and it is best to have everyone got a check-up. Thanks for sharing this good advocate 🙂
I had been so stuck that I had forgotten about the month, Luckily I saw this on siennys blog then I remembered. Weirdly, in October itself, I lost my best friend’s mum due to cancer.
October, helps to increase attention and support for the awareness, early detection and treatment as well as palliative care of this disease.
I hope everything is okay. Be safe!
Thanks for bringing this issue up – it reminds me to remind my family and friends about the importance of regular check up and to be health aware. – Knycx Journeying
Please do so, thank you!
Breast Cancer screening is so critical for women over 40, nice to see this blog creating awareness around it.
Great reminder. My sister found a clump in her breast this month and thankfully it was not cancer. this time it hit too close. thank you for spreading awareness
This is really important for females, a great reminder to all, thanks for sharing.
Please continue to encourage and educate other women.
Thanks for sharing this. We need this type of awareness and info-spreading year round as well!
This is so important, thank you for sharing! Despite knowing all this, I am still not careful enough. I really need to do this regularly because I have cancer in my family. Thank you for spreading the world and helping keep women safe.
Please be proactive, talk to your doctor, and do the screening!