My grandma did not survive breast cancer. She died at the age of 63 after a battle with a tumor in her breast that grew and spread throughout her body. As a 12 year old, from what I remember, it was a scary time: she was a shell of her former self, thin, pale and bald, she was in pain often and had very little energy. It was terrifying for my entire family and affected each and every one of us.
It saddens me that she didn’t have the knowledge of how important early detection of breast cancer is, that if she had been performing self-breast exams along with yearly mammograms and clinical breast exams, she could very well still be alive. There’s no use dwelling on the past, and wishing for things that can not be. It was a different time and our knowledge of breast cancer was nil compared to the facts that we’ve acquired today. It makes me all the more adamant to help spread the message of Nor Cal Think Pink, knowing that early detection saves lives!
Last year, the National Cancer Institute estimated new cases of breast cancer to be found in 232,340 women and 2,240 men. There are more than 2.5 million cancer survivors in the US. Cancer is the second most common diagnosis leading to death in Shasta County, and breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women of every race/ethnic group in California.
But this is why we are so adamant about promoting self-breast exams and yearly mammograms: there is a 98% survival rate when breast cancer is caught early and treatment is begun when the cancer is localized. This is why Think Pink’s message is so important!
If you are a woman over the age of 40 and haven’t scheduled your yearly mammogram, consider this your reminder! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by being aware of your own breast health and remembering that taking action toward early detection saves lives (most likely your own)!
– Jessica Wiechman – Nor Cal Think Pink Media/Marketing Committee Co-Chair
American Cancer Society Guidelines for Breast Cancer Detection:
AGE 20-39: Perform a breast self-exam every month. Have a clinical breast exam by a doctor or nurse every three years.
AGE 40 AND OVER: Have a mammogram every year. Perform a self- exam every month. Have a clinical breast exam by a doctor every year.