The upcoming month is a very personal one for me. I spend a good percentage of my time with women who have been diagnosed with a form of breast cancer and are looking for the best options for their future. The battle for these women is very real – it goes way beyond a pink ribbon. I have the privilege of getting to know them on a much deeper level – to understand their pain, fear and goals. We are making a decision together for their future. My main goal is to help them conquer their diagnosis in the most gracious way possible, with the most advantageous outcome. I am humbled by these amazing women and honored to be their physician.
1 in 8 women in the United States will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. On the optimistic side, 64% of breast cancer cases are diagnosed at a localized stage (there is no sign that the cancer has spread outside of the breast). According to the American Cancer Society, when breast cancer is detected early, and is in the localized stage, the 5-year relative survival rate is 99%. Early detection includes doing monthly breast self-exams, and scheduling regular clinical breast exams and mammograms.
The key is to find any concerns early – which means diligence with an annual mammogram. I cannot stress enough the importance of making a date every year to have your scan. It does matter.
Let’s take the month of October to remind ourselves to take care of our bodies, go for regular check-ups, familiarize yourself with signs and symptoms – and offer support to any woman you know who has struggled with a diagnosis.
Source: National Breast Cancer Foundation