Breast Cancer statistics are sobering

Seema Kumar

We’ve all heard the sobering statistics. Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women and impacts more than 2 million women every year. We also know the importance of early detection and treatment as the single biggest factor that contributes to better breast cancer survival rates. Yet the number of women who get regular breast cancer screening exams is lower than where it could be. Why don’t more women get screened and what can we do this October as part of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month for ourselves and our families?

The good news is that today, there are more treatment options available than ever before, and women can survive breast cancer if their cancer is detected and treated early. Annual mammogram screenings are an important way to monitor and detect breast cancer well before symptoms occur, yet only 60-67 percent of women get annual mammograms.

There are many reasons why women may not get a regular mammogram. Lack of access to medical care or insurance can be a concern for some women, but in many places today, free or low-cost mammograms are of-fered in local community centers especially in the month of October. For other women, it may be a matter of finding time. We all get busy with work and life, and we sometimes may find it difficult to fit it into our hectic schedules. But making time to get a mammogram is important, and breast cancer awareness campaigns serve as reminders to make it a priority. Some women may avoid getting a mammogram for fear of finding out that they in fact have cancer. While this emotional anxiety and fear is under-standable and normal, getting over the anxiety and scheduling your mammogram is key. Why? Because:

1) Mammograms can save lives—it is the single most important thing you can do to lower the chances of dying from breast cancer

2) Early detection means better treatment options and increased survival rates.

3) It doesn’t take a lot of time—only 20 minutes—and new advances in mammography technologies have reduced the discomfort.

So lets all take the opportunity this month to schedule our annual mam-mograms, conquer the fear of finding out, and take control of our own health. And let's remind our friends, spread the word, and be an advocate.