Across the United States, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. During the month of October, which is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, there are many opportunities to bring awareness about breast cancer to women and their families. One of the most important messages is that when caught and treated in its early stages, the five-year survival rate is 99 percent, compared to only 74 percent in 1982. Quite simply – early detection and mammograms – save lives.
If you are over the age of 40, or under the age of 40 and have a family history of breast cancer, during the month of October, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, make an appointment to get a clinical breast exam, then a mammogram. Get screened and pledge to get a friend to also schedule a mammogram. If you are uninsured or under insured and have high deductibles, call 201-963-0300 to see if you qualify for a free NJ CEED breast exam & mammogram. Call the same number after the month of October to see if you qualify.
If you should have a cancerous lump, remember that there are many types of treatment and your treatment will depend on the size of the tumor, how much the cancer has spread if it has spread at all, lab test results, your age and your medical history. There are many cancer survivor networks, which are usually a very welcoming place. Please remember that cancer patients may be uncomfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings with others at this time. Learn how to listen and let them know that they are not alone.
Take the following 10 question quiz to see how much you know about breast health. (Answers below)
1. 80 percent of all women with breast cancer have no family history of the disease. True or false.
2. You don’t need a mammogram if you haven’t had any symptoms or problems. True or false.
3. Select the two most important reasons for a woman to be at risk for getting breast cancer.
a. Being a woman
c. Family history
d. Getting older
f. Lack of exercise
g. Started menopause after age 50
4. All breast lumps are cancerous. True or false.
5. Lack of insurance means there are no options to getting screened for breast cancer without having to pay for the cancer screening. True or false.
6. Cancer is the second leading cause of death for both men and women in the USA. True or false.
7. Men can’t get breast cancer. True or false.
8. African-American women are less likely to die from breast cancer than Caucasian women. True or false
9. A breast injury can cause breast cancer. True or false.
10. Every 30 seconds another woman is diagnosed with breast cancer. True or false
It is important to remember that periodic checkups from your Doctor, is a large contributor to a healthy life. Too often we only think of getting health care at certain times of the year, but I believe that every day should be a cancer prevention day. Remember that early detection through yearly screenings is your best protection, so make an appointment to get screened and remember “if you don’t go, you won’t know”.
Joyce Tolliver Adams,
Hudson County Cancer Coalition
Answers: 1. true, 2. false, 3. a&d, 4. false, 5. false, 6. true, 7, false, 8. false, 9. false, 10. true