You may call your boobs your breasties, but are they really? Are you feeling up your best friends and your armpits on the first of every month the same way you’d check a cantaloupe or melon for its ripeness at the grocery store? You know, to make sure you don’t have a lump, swelling, redness, soreness, thickening, irritation or dimpling of the skin, or redness, flaky skin, pulling or pain in the nipple area that could potentially be breast cancer. Better yet, do you know how to properly screen for breast cancer? You should, you need to. It’s your right.
Here’s the deal. According to the Canadian Cancer Society, breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer in Canadian women and one in eight will be diagnosed with it in their lifetime. Guess what else, 75 per cent of those women don’t have a history of the disease in their family. That’s a fact.
So here’s what you can do. Get to know your breasts. Above and beyond knowing your cup size and which Knix, La Perla or Victoria’s Secrets bra makes The Girls most perky-looking. Truly get to know know and understand what your odds are against breast cancer by asking for, wait, demanding for informed and accurate breast and armpit screening, like having an annual mammogram, ultra sound and MRI by the time you celebrate your 40th birthday. Because when you are empowered with accurate (yes, we’re saying that word a lot) current and relevant information, you can make the best decisions for your health and for your life.
Click on the brand new Canadian website www.mybreastscreening.ca to clearly see what you need to know and do, complete with a four-question test you can take to provide you with access to current information and insight on breast cancer screening practices across the country. Trust us, they’re not all equal. For example, only in British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and the Yukon Territories can women self-refer for mammograms annually. You may not think so, but you actually do need to know this stuff to make an educated choice about your breast cancer screening. This isn’t just a precaution. There’s a reason Rethink Breast Cancer advocates for younger women, who are under 50 and make up 17 per cent of all breast cancer diagnoses each year. Their diagnoses are often delayed because of their age, yet their cancers are increasing. You can blame it on stress, the environment, pollution, food, alcohol, obesity and smoking all you like, but the reality is breast cancer is random. So take charge of your boobs and advocate for them. You’ve got a whole lot of living to do.
For additional information, check out the author, Adriana Ermter’s story My Breasts Are My Boobs on the Canadian Breast Cancer Network. She’s a breast cancer survivor who learned about the importance of screening the hard way.