Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

Sounds dramatic, right? But when it comes to prevention and early detection of breast cancer, a bit of drama is warranted if it will bring attention to this topic!
Today I went for my annual screening mammogram. It took less than 15 minutes which was faster than in the past; it turns out that the radiology center near me invested in a digital machine since my visit last May. I can't say I enjoyed the whole experience, but the slight discomfort is worth knowing that I'm doing what I can to help myself.
This post is intended to help others by serving as a reminder to perform your own monthly self breast exams and to follow the recommended guidelines from the National Cancer Institute (yes, I used to work there!):

  • Women age 40 and older should have mammograms every 1 to 2 years.

  • Women who are at higher than average risk of breast cancer should talk with their health care providers about whether to have mammograms before age 40 and how often to have them.
To learn how to do a self-breast exam, you can click HERE to see instructions with illustrations from the Mayo Clinic.
For more information about risk factors for breast cancer, click HERE to visit the NCI fact sheet for screening mammograms.
Remember, the life you save may be your own!