Wednesday, October 1, 2008

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

I consider myself (A Breast Cancer Survivor) an advocate for Breast Cancer Awareness. I was diagnosed with Stage 2 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (just one of several types of breast cancer) in January of 2006. At the time of diagnosis, I was pregnant with our sixth child and 38 years old. I am now a two and a half year survivor!!!!

If you are the one in eight women who will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime you need to have a plan that helps you detect the disease in its early stages. When breast cancer is found early, the 5-year survival rate in the United States is 98%, which is why there are over 2 million breast cancer survivors today. Whether you are 20 or 80, you need an early-detection plan.

Every month (regardless of your age) you need to do a self-exam. Taking a few minutes to do a breast self-exam a minimum of once a month can make the difference of a lifetime, literally. Nearly 70% of all breast cancers are found through self-exams. Write it down on your calendar. I send out reminders on the 19th of every month (my birthday falls on the 19th). Click here to go to my page on how to perform a self-breast examination. If you find a lump, schedule an appointment with your doctor, but don’t panic—8 out of 10 lumps are not cancerous.

Once a year have a clinical breast exam by a qualified nurse or doctor to check for lumps or other physical changes.

Get a mammogram once a year. A mammogram is an X-ray photograph of the breast and the primary tool in diagnosing breast cancer.

If you would like to read about “My Cancer Journey” click here. If you would like to share your story please, please, please leave a note or a link in the comments section.