Pink is the new black, or at least during the month of October. For the past 25 years, October has been recognized as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, represented by that ubiquitous little Pink Ribbon. We're sure you've probably already seen it several times today, right? Retailers, airlines, schools, and even the NFL have jumped on the pink bandwagon. Pink is everywhere, and by now we're so used to it that it may be easy to forget why.
Raising awareness, educating the masses, and creating a national dialogue are the main objectives of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and it has worked! Since 1989, death rates from breast cancer have been on the decline, attributed in large part to early detection and increased awareness.
Ideally, you should be receiving appropriate guideline-recommended mammography. How early and often you need to be screened depends on age, family history, and several other factors. Ask your healthcare provider how often you need a mammogram. In addition to regular screening, you should be performing a monthly self-exam. This is so very, very important. Nearly forty percent of breast cancers that are diagnosed are detected when women feel a lump during a self-exam. Establishing a regular breast self-exam routine can literally save your life.
We know that life can be hectic, and sometimes it's all we can do to get ourselves, and our families, through the day. It's easy to forget a task that occurs just once a month. Should you find yourself forgetting to do your self-exam on a regular basis, we suggest the holiday and birthday schedule. When you think about it, there is a holiday or loved one's birthday in almost every month on the calendar. If you can remember to perform your breast exam on the major holidays and your birthday, or your kids' birthdays, you'll be covered for the entire year! We suggest the following holiday schedule:
January- New Year's Day or Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
February- Valentine's Day
March- St. Patrick's Day
April- Easter or the first day of Passover
May- Memorial Day or Mother's Day
June- Father's Day
July- Independence Day
August- Back to School Day (not an official holiday, but hey, parents know it's the greatest holiday of all!)
September- Labor Day or the September Equinox
October- Columbus Day or Halloween
November- Veteran's Day or Thanksgiving Day
December- Christmas or last day of Chanukah
Monthly self-exams and regular screenings save lives! Is your bank closed? Are the kids off of school for the day? Are you preparing a huge holiday meal? Then it's time to check!
(Image credit: http://www.pinkribbon.com/)