Why You Need to Be Checked for Breast Cancer

Why You Need to Be Checked for Breast Cancer

Have you gotten checked? If not, you should. We know it can seem scary, but the real thing to be scared of is what could happen if you don’t get checked for breast cancer now.

Everyone understands why you might fear the idea of your doctor finding a lump. We’re not going pretend like that’s not a scary moment in any woman’s life. But can you imagine how much scarier it could be if you don’t get checked until it’s too late? You shouldn’t have to think about that, and we don’t want you to. We want to see you and every woman get a regular wellness exam including a breast cancer check, so if you need treatment you can get it early when it will be the most effective and least dangerous.

We’re Not the Only Ones Who Want You to Get Checked

If you’re thinking “Oh, of course my doctor wants me to get checked for breast cancer.” Well, you should know that we’re not the only ones. Grammy award winner and breast cancer survivor Sheryl Crow recently wrote an open letter to women everywhere urging them to get checked for breast cancer.

In her letter, Crow talks about how it’s been 32 years since the first Breast Cancer Awareness Month in 1985. Today, she writes, the movement has proliferated to the point where even macho NFL players drape themselves in pink accessories every October. But with so much pink, there’s actually now a danger of some women becoming numb to the message and tuning it out.

“Just as it was true in 1985, it remains true today that mammography is the very best tool we have in the fight against breast cancer,” explains Crow. “Fortunately, today’s breast cancer screening technology has advanced tremendously since 1985, and since I was diagnosed with cancer more than 11 years ago.”

Despite these incredible advances and the awareness campaign being kicked into high gear every year right before Halloween, too many women are still avoiding breast cancer exams in 2017. No more, says Sheryl Crow.

“We can no longer say we are fearful of pain or discomfort,” she writes.

“We can no longer say we don’t have time for an inaccurate exam to cause us to have a false positive and come back for additional screenings. And finally, we can no longer say that because we have dense breasts, mammograms aren’t able to detect breast cancer for us.”

And you know what? She’s not the only one who feels that way either. Think about your friends, your family, your colleagues. How would they feel if you they knew you were endangering yourself by not getting checked? No matter who’s in your support group, there’s no question they care about you and want you to be well.

There Are New Genetic Risk Factors

And the need to be checked for breast cancer to maintain your health and wellbeing is now stronger than ever. Researchers from 300 institutions around the globe recently discovered 72 previously unknown gene mutations that lead to breast cancer in studies published in scientific journals Nature and Nature Genetics. Their findings bring the total number of gene mutations believed to be associated with breast cancer to 180.

One of the study’s authors, Jacques Simard, estimated that these newly discovered mutation links raise a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer by five to 10 percent. It’s a small amount, but most women would likely agree that anything that raises their risk is something they’d rather avoid. The good news, however, is that the discovery could help medical scientists to better estimate a woman’s risk to develop breast cancer and adjust their recommendations for who should get checked and when.

Life After Cancer

You know you need to get checked. And in all likelihood, you’ll get great news that you don’t have cancer. But are you still worried about what comes after if you do have cancer? That’s understandable. Your life doesn’t have to end with breast cancer, and if you get checked early enough, there’s a very high chance it won’t. But what then? What comes after the treatment and recovery?

Well, almost anything you can imagine and pursue, really. Take Katherine Warrick, a 36-year-old survivor who’s running Marine Corps. marathons five years after beating cancer. Or how about Vicky Davis, who started a support group for women and returned to her job helping special needs children while she was receiving her final treatments.

And those are just two women. Countless others have beaten breast cancer. In fact, the American Cancer Society estimates the five-year survival rate as being between 72 and 100 percent (depending on the stage) for those who get checked early enough to catch the cancer before it spreads. But once it’s spread, the rate drops to just 22 percent.

Don’t let that be you. Get checked today and get on with your life without cancer.

Author
Dr. Kyle Scarborough Dr. Kyle Scarborough is a family medicine physician at Family Life Medical in Conroe, Texas. Dr. Scarborough offers care for the entire family, including wellness exams, diabetes care, hypertension treatment, geriatric care, well woman exam, school physicals, and pre-ops and hospital follow ups.

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