Check Out My Boobs As a Friendly Reminder to Get Your Mammogram
Are you scared of a mammogram? Don't be. Honest.
Breast cancer rates in the United States are among the highest in the world. According to Maine.gov, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States, accounting for 32% of all cancer in women. It is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths (after lung cancer) among U.S. women. That holds true for Maine as well. There will be an estimated 1,420 cases of female breast cancer in Maine this year, the second highest cancer rate behind lung cancer. Early detection and prevention are keys to avoiding being a statistic.
As women, going to the doctor can feel invasive and scary. I get it. But I'm here to tell you as a woman who has been getting yearly mammograms for over 30 years - it's not bad and it's quick and so important.
But I'm scared.
I get that. I was too. Of all the things we women go through, a mammogram is nothing! It literally takes about 10 minutes and if you've ever had X-rays of your mouth - this is easier! It's only slightly uncomfortable and again, it's quick! Please don't be scared. My mom was scared. I had no idea. She waited until she was 70 years old to have her first and by that time, it was too late. She had breast cancer that spread to her bones and it killed her. Please don't delay.
When should I get my first mammogram?
Maine.gov has some suggestions on when you should have a mammogram based on national guidelines. But I'm telling you, YOU know your body better than anyone. Trust your instinct. If something doesn't seem right, talk to your doctor! The guidelines are:
- Have a health care provider examine your breasts every year.
- Learn from your provider how to examine your own breasts and do it every month.
- Get your first screening mammogram when you turn 40 and earlier if your provider advises because of other risks factors, such as: a close female relative with breast cancer a biopsy with "atypical hyperplasia" carrying the genes BRCA1 or BRCA2
- Get a screening mammogram every 1-2 years between 40 and 49 years of age and every year after age 50.
What if I can't afford it?
Maine has a network of places that will take care of the cost of a mammogram or PAP test. Please don't let money prevent you from taking care of yourself. Here are the guidelines and here is the network!
Because my mom passed from breast cancer, I am at a higher risk. I have had the BRCA test done and I do not have the gene. Also, my latest mammogram came back negative. Phew. Now I can focus all of my attention on raising money for Mainers fighting breast cancer with the 20th Cans for a Cure. Stay tuned for how you can be involved. Now, go schedule your mammogram!