Is there a party somewhere? Everywhere we look, we can spot silky pink fabric twisted into elegant ribbons.
Although these ribbons are beautiful and festive, most people know that the disease they represent is anything but a party.
October is breast cancer awareness month, and the statistics may seem boring…but cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. And of that, breast cancer is the second most common kind of cancer.
Although 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, men are at risk too. With all diseases, our best chance at surviving is early detection. Follow these early detection tips:
1) Self-examination: Many physician visits originate from the discovery of a lump or oddity. Take the time to listen to your body and recognize any abnormalities by performing monthly self-examinations.
2) Mammogram: For those women who have low or average risks, the mammogram is the most common procedure for early detection. The American Cancer Society recommends one every year starting at age 40 and continuing as long as the individual is in good health.
3) MRI: In certain cases, the self-exam and the mammogram may both miss the detection. If you are at a higher risk, ask your doctor for an MRI which will more accurately show the involved area.
4) History: One of the most important considerations is family history. In those families who have a history of breast cancer, testing for mutated genes may be appropriate. Talk closely with your physician and make him/her aware of your risks.
Unfortunately, this disease does not discriminate or only affect patients with a higher risk. As October unfolds, encourage your grandmother, mom, sister, friend, daughter and any other woman in your life to schedule a mammogram.
Annual mammograms are our first line of defense against this life-robbing cancer. Let’s make a commitment to follow the suggestions of the experts and get ourselves healthy, and when we prevent this disaster from affecting even one life, we can consider those pretty pink ribbons a reason for a party after all.
Kelly Kinney, RPh
Brookshire Brothers Pharmacy – Rusk, TX