Ask Every Woman You Know This Question
I was diagnosed with breast cancer 7 years ago.
I never felt a lump and I'm embarrassed to say that I had gone 4 years between mammograms. It turns out that the cancer was there on the 4 year old mammogram, but it was missed. And, apparently, that happens a lot.
Please don't do what I did. A mammogram found the cancer and a breast MRI saved my life. At the time of my diagnosis, I had two tumors in one breast and the cancer had spread to one lymph node. Not so great. So I had a double mastectomy, chemo and 4 additional reconstructive surgeries. The treatment was not fun, but I'm still here.
So, if you are old enough to do so, please get a mammogram every year. It increases the likelihood that something bad will be found sooner rather than later. If you have insurance, you don't even need a doctor's order to schedule a mammogram. And if you don't have insurance, there are a number of programs in many cities which provide no cost or low cost mammograms.
Here's my request to you. Ask every woman you care about the following question:
What was the date of your last mammogram?
A couple of years ago, we had pink banners in my store windows and I asked every customer -- male or female -- to give me their last mammogram date or to commit to asking an important woman in his or her life that question. A few months later, I got a call from a woman (the wife of a physician who had health insurance and who had skipped mammograms for a while) thanking me for giving her a hard time about not having had a mammogram. She went for one and found out she had cancer. That was a goosebump moment.
Mammograms really can save lives. Wearing pink ribbons is fine, but asking that one question can actually help someone you care about stay alive longer. Do it!