Saturday, January 9, 2010

Mammogram 01/07/10

I don't typically get on my soapbox here at holisticanaturopathic. There are so many sites that do just that; I prefer to keep things light with the occasional recipe, recycling tip, medical-related news or link. But something has been happening on Facebook that has caught my attention, but not for the reason intended.

A meme has been going around encouraging women to post their bra color as their status update, all in the name of breast cancer awareness. Even before I found this article, I thought the whole thing was a bit odd, somewhat voyeuristic, and unsure how bra color posting would make anyone more knowledgeable about breast cancer. One thing the Facebook meme did do was make me incredibly aware that I am in dire need of new support undergarments. But as far as activism? Education? Not so much.

I decided to start my own meme. It's off to a very slow start, perhaps because I only sent it to a few friends, maybe because it's REALLY kind of a personal thing, or folks are getting sick and tired of Facebook memes. Here goes: post as your status update the date of your last mammogram, self breast exam (SBE), or clinical breast exam (CBE). Easy enough, right? What? You don't remember the last time you did a self breast exam? When is the best time to do one? Haven't had a CBE in how many years? Maybe you're not quite old enough to get a mammogram, or maybe you are...wait...what IS the age to start screening?

See? Made you think. Or at least do a Google search. You notice your friend got a mammo two days ago (that friend would be me, thank you very much) or did a SBE last Tuesday. So you make an appointment with your doctor or check your breasts in the shower.

These are the American Cancer Society's current guidelines for screening:
  • Yearly mammograms are recommended starting at age 40 and continuing for as long as a woman is in good health.
  • Clinical breast exam (CBE) should be part of a periodic health exam, about every 3 years for women in their 20s and 30s and every year for women 40 and over.
  • Women should know how their breasts normally feel and report any breast change promptly to their health care providers. Breast self-exam (BSE) is an option for women starting in their 20s.
  • Women at high risk (greater than 20% lifetime risk) should get an MRI and a mammogram every year. Women at moderately increased risk (15% to 20% lifetime risk) should talk with their doctors about the benefits and limitations of adding MRI screening to their yearly mammogram. Yearly MRI screening is not recommended for women whose lifetime risk of breast cancer is less than 15%.
The newest meme encourages women to breastfeed because breastfeeding and being breastfed reduces breast cancer risk. I'm in a bit of a pickle because I was mostly bottle fed and chances are I won't be breastfeeding any time soon. And I have old bras.

Now, where is that Victoria's Secret catalog?

More info from
Self breast exam
Clinical breast exam
Early detection and screening

1 comment:

  1. The best time to do monthly self-breast exams is after your period. No longer menstruating? Pick a day (say on the 15th of the month) and repeat.

    Haven't had a CBE in how many years? Annually, with your Pap smear.

    And current recommendations are to get mammograms yearly starting at age 40.