I understand, I truly do. The corporate takeover of breast cancer awareness, though, does not mean that you don’t have to self-exam, get mammograms, and have an early detection plan.
Breast cancer is still a killer (even though women have other major health issues, breast cancer is one that we should still be concerned about) of women AND men. It will continue to be, until we find a cure.
This post isn’t about a cure, though. This post is about you taking ownership of your health and making sure that you don’t fall victim to stage 4, untreatable cancer. Women’s health is clearly not a priority for the federal government, so we have to take it into our own hands (literally).
First, check yourself. Check out these techniques for proper self-breast exams and make sure that you’re following them to a T. Put an appointment on your Blackberry or Google Calendar to remind you to do it each month. Make a mammogram appointment for yourself on a day when you can take the rest of the day off. You deserve it, reward yourself for taking care of yourself, your boobs, and your health.
Second, get checked out. Most women should get their first mammogram at age 40, and then yearly each year after. If you have a family history of breast cancer, get checked out even sooner. Mammograms aren’t fun or awesome, but they save lives. If you’re having difficulty paying for testing (or if someone you know is), there are multiple resources out there to provide every woman with access to this life-saving procedure. Do a quick Google search to find resources in your area, including your local Planned Parenthood.
Third, encourage your dude to get checked out. Men don’t want to talk about breast cancer, but that’s a conversation that needs to be had. If he has family history, make sure that he’s examining himself, and getting checked out on a regular basis. If you can make your dude take out the trash and dress presentably, surely you can talk him into a self-exam.
My favorite tool for organizing an Early Detection Plan is the National Breast Cancer Foundation‘s easy “Create an Early Detection Plan” tool. This tool allows you to make appointments and set reminders for self-exams, mammograms, and clinical breast exams. It can deliver updates for these appointments via e-mail, text, a calendar update, or RSS feed.
You now have literally NO excuse to not set up your early detection plan. Even if you’re young, getting in the habit of self-exams and regular gynecological exams is only going to mean a healthier life.
Amy is a social media strategist living in Dallas, Texas. She likes music, trashy TV, and ladybiz. tweet: @aemccarthy