As you are all probably aware, it is now October. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This is important to me for two reasons.
1) I am a woman who has breasts
2) My mother is a breast cancer survivor
Yes, twenty years ago when I was nine and my mother was just 36, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was found after she had her first mammogram ever. She caught it very early, had a mastectomy, and that was it. No chemo, no radiation, just the mastectomy. She's been cancer free ever since.
Since my mother was so young when she was diagnosed, I was instructed to start doing self exams and get mammograms starting three years ago when I turned 26. And so I have. I'll be honest, mammograms aren't my favorite thing. Ask any woman who's had one and they'll tell you the same. But I much prefer 10 minutes of intense discomfort to, you know, cancer and death. It's an easy choice to make.
So other than the fact that it's Breast Cancer Awareness Month, why am I bringing this up? Because if you're reading this, you are a woman or you know a woman. If you're a woman, no matter how old you are, please start doing self exams. Set a recurring reminder on your calendar or your phone to once a month to do it. It'll take you ten minutes. Here's a guide you can use! Please, please do this. If you're 40 or older, talk to your doctor about scheduling a mammogram. If you know a woman, and you care about her, please ask her if she's had a mammogram recently. I know that could be awkward. But deal with the awkwardness for just a few minutes while you remind her that EARLY DETECTION SAVES LIVES, and you'd like her to keep her life as long as she can, and this is a way to help achieve that goal.
Cancer sucks. It's evil and horrible. The best way to cut breast cancer off at the knees (if it had knees) is to find it early. Early detection saves lives. My amazing mother is actual living proof of that.