If you’ve been seeing more pink than usual this month, it’s likely because October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And while the world may look pretty in pink, that pink is there to remind us that one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer over the course of their lifetime.
It’s not too late to honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month. One of the best ways to honor the awareness month is to take personal action for your own health by creating an early detection plan. Early detection plans consist of proactive steps that you can take to help catch breast cancer early.
The National Breast Cancer Foundation’s website offers a free, confidential early detection plan that you can use on your computer or via an app on your smart phone. The program reminds you of your early detection plan commitments via email or alerts on your phone.
But you don’t have to use the Foundation’s website to create a plan – you can create your own if you prefer. In either case, the plan should include:
1) Scheduling and Performing a Monthly Breast Exam: You should choose a regular date to perform a monthly self-breast exam. You could choose the 15th of every month or the first Saturday. It doesn’t matter when, just pick a day and stick with it. If you’re not sure how to perform an exam, ask your well woman care provider for a tutorial or visit the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
2) Scheduling an Annual Clinical Exam: A clinical breast exam performed by your OB/GYN or nurse midwife should be part of your annual well woman exam. If you aren’t currently seeing your gynecologist yearly, you should schedule an exam as soon as possible. Consider contacting our Gainesville or Lake City office to schedule an appointment.
3) Scheduling a Mammogram, depending on your age and health history: Your well woman care provider will help you determine if you need to schedule a mammogram. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that women over the age of forty receive an annual mammogram, but younger women with a strong family history of breast cancer may also need to schedule a mammogram.
The National Cancer Institute that when breast cancer is detected early, the five year survival rate is 98%. Honor all the women who have fought breast cancer by taking care of yourself – make an early detection plan today.