Today, I was at my six year old’s soccer game speaking with one of the other soccer moms. During a break, she leaned over and whispered to me, “I got my first mammogram this week. I know it’s breast cancer awareness month and I thought it was a good time to get my mammogram.” I was glad that she shared her information with me, but more elated by her enthusiasm.
It was refreshing to know that she is excited to take charge of her health. I believe she is in her 40s and obviously has been impacted by the national breast cancer awareness month campaigns and messages she has heard about breast health. And, I think she felt comfortable sharing with me because she knows that I’m a young breast cancer survivor. As we left the game, I told her that I know that she might be anxious until she receives her results but that I would keep her in my thoughts for a mammogram that indicates normal, healthy breasts.
So why and I excited and why do we know it’s important to get mammograms? It’s not like #voting; we don’t get an “I voted” sticker to wear to show our civic responsibility and pride. It’s not like going to the pediatrician’s office for the first time; we don’t get a lollipop or other treat to reinforce a focus on living a healthy life and ensuring excitement to return for future appointments. For many, a mammogram is an uncomfortable exam that can be preceded by anxiety and fear. But for all of the potential emotions and feelings leading up to and immediately following a mammogram and for the seemingly absent instant gratification, there are many great benefits from getting your first mammogram and continuing to get mammograms.
- Your first mammogram serves as a baseline for doctors to use in detecting abnormalities and as a basis for determining any future breast changes as you continue to get mammograms.
- A mammogram can be used as a tool to detect breast cancer early, earlier than can be detected through a physical exam. EARLY DETECTION CAN SAVE YOUR LIFE.
- Your family, friends and loved ones will be grateful to you for taking charge of your health; making yourself a priority. You can only be good for others if you are good to yourself!
So, to my soccer mom friend and to all of the women who have decided to get your first mammogram, I applaud you. Continue to make yourself a priority and take charge of your health. Keep getting your mammograms. I wish you continued good health and a great life.