October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. With that news follows mammogram awareness. Although this is not new news to anyone, it continues to be news because not everyone takes mammograms seriously. Or, it might be that the mammogram is taken seriously but not necessarily given priority. Often, I hear, “I do not have time to get a mammogram.” Think about it, this is this same as saying, it is not a priority. Most of us know someone who has been touched by breast cancer. Perhaps you personally have experienced this monster.
Mammograms did not emerge until the 1960’s but were not recommended as a screening by the American Cancer Society until 1976. Over the years, there have been many advances in the technology used to perform mammograms. Today, instead of the original direct x-ray that a woman used to receive, digital breast imaging, which includes 3-D images, is now being used as an early detection effort. This provides better images for the technician, as well as a lower radiation level for the woman.
Mammograms should begin at age 40 (earlier if there is a family history of breast cancer or specific concerns.) According to the American Cancer Society, mammograms should continue every 1-2 years until age 75 or if there is a limited life expectancy.
What keeps a woman from getting a mammogram? Is it because of time? Is it because of finances? Is it because they want to just live their fate? Who knows? But with so many available resources, choosing not to get a mammogram can be considered selfish. We all have family and/or friends with whom we enjoy living life. To not get a mammogram could be said to be the same as saying, “those relationships do not matter.”
Celebrate the fact that as a woman we have procedures in place to help protect us. Celebrate that early detection is possible. And…Celebrate Life!
American Cancer Society
UCSF: July 2017, August 2020