Breast Cancer Awareness Month
I’ve got a bone to pick with all you nurses… Don’t get flustered just yet, though; hear me out. So there’s this notion among y’all that when it comes to your personal health, you’re invincible. I know, I know; it’s not because you literally think you’ve got something the rest of mankind doesn’t. I know how it is- life is busy, particularly YOUR life as a nurse, and since most of the time your body runs like a well-oiled machine, your first response to the words, ‘well-visit,’ is, ‘AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT!’ And I get it. However, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and today is National Mammography Day. If there’s any disease you as a woman should be aware of, it’s this one. If I still haven’t caught your attention, then keep reading, because the following most certainly will- it’s breast cancer by the numbers according to breastcancer.org.
1. Approximately 1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer in her lifetime.
2. Approximately 40,610 women in the U.S. are expected to die in 2017 from breast cancer, though death rates have been decreasing since 1989, particularly in the under 50 age range.
3. For women in the U.S., breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, aside for lung cancer.
4. Aside for skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer for women in the U.S.
5. As of March 2017, there are over 3.1 million women in the U.S. with a history of breast cancer.
6. A woman’s risk of breast cancer nearly doubles if she has a first-degree relative such as a mother, sister or daughter, who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. However, approximately 85% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history at all.
7. The greatest risk factors for breast cancer are gender (being female), and age, (getting older.)
The question begs to be asked. What can you and I as women do to best protect ourselves from this dreaded disease?? The simple answer is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Eat healthy, avoid alcohol, exercise often, breastfeed if possible etc. Ultimately, though, no one can run from the disease. If it’s meant to find you it will. Which is why yearly mammograms are a must for every woman over the age of 40. Sure, those ‘save the ta-tas’ bracelets are cute, as are the breast cancer themed nursing scrubs, and going pink on Breast Cancer Awareness Day is fun, but at the end of the day, it’s not fun and games. Despite the controversy surrounding it, breast cancer screening can help find the cancer as early as possible giving the patient the best chances at a complete recovery. It’s no secret that mammograms have saved lives. And so on this National Mammography Day, I beg all you busy nurses to at least make an appointment for a mammogram.