Merely typing the words “breast cancer” makes me cringe!  I will venture to guess that it probably does most people reading this, since about 1 out of every 8 Americans will have it in their lifetime (mostly women of course, men are more like 1 in 883).  It is safe to say either you or someone you know has had or will have it, so if you aren’t cringing today, go ahead and be prepared to cringe at future date. That sounded kind of like a Negative Nancy comment, I apologize!  So, on a Positive Polly note, the 5-year survival rate is 91%. There aren’t a whole lot of positives about cancer so that may be all Polly has to say, we will see.  I write my blogs sort of like I conduct most my conversations; I have no clue what I am about to say until it is already spoken and I have no idea what I am going to type until my fingers start moving.  So, we will learn some facts together today!

In my research, I discovered it’s a lot like COVID-19 in that some of the statistics make no sense and don’t add up mathematically speaking.  So, I will venture to guess that is probably normal in the medical community and/or I just don’t understand basic math in the medical world (it really could go either way). For example, it says a woman’s chance of getting breast cancer doubles if she has a first-degree family member with it (mom, sister, daughter). Then in the same paragraph it is says only 15% of women with breast cancer have a family member with it.  One would think, with double the risk that number would be higher than 15%.  However, since my mother was diagnosed around my age I like the fact that 85% of people diagnosed have zero family history of it.  Makes me feel like my odds are better than saying my chances are double that of those who don’t have a family history of it.  It’s all about the wording, and I like to make myself feel as good as possible about it because quite frankly I would like to live to be 103 with zero health complications. 

Back to the important stuff… With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I want to make you aware of just how common it really is and how important early detection can be.  We have already gone over just how common it is, now for the why detection is important.  If found early your survival rate is 93% higher than someone who doesn’t seek treatment early on.  The earlier you find it the less chance it has to spread, the less surgeries you will need, the less radiation, less chemo, and even with my poor math skills the early detection still makes sense to me!  If none of those reasons appeal to you then check with your local clinic and see for sure, but I know I get a free t-shirt with my October mammogram (sometimes it’s the little things in life)!

Getting a mammogram is no fun, and we all dread it for so many reasons from the obvious of just getting the actual procedure done to the being scared of what if they do find something.  Sometimes I know, I feel like if ignore something I can pretend it doesn’t exist or it may go away (such as the check engine light in my car).  However, unlike our cars ladies this is import and early detection is crucial!  So, if you are between 40 & 54 and haven’t had one in a year or are over 55 and it has been over 2 years then call right now and schedule your screening.  It literally could save your life!  

References:
https://www.cancer.org/healthy/find-cancer-early/cancer-screening-guidelines/american-cancer-society-guidelines-for-the-early-detection-of-cancer.html

https://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/understand_bc/statistics