Breast Cancer Awareness Month

breast-cancerIt’s Breast Cancer Awareness month, in case you haven’t smacked into signs, posters, and the like (is that possible?). It’s doubtful that any woman will go untouched by breast cancer in some way- if it’s not our own diagnosis, it will be that of a friend or family member. Breast cancer is everywhere; about 1 in 9 women will get it in their lifetimes.

Early detection is good, but there can be too much of a good thing- mammograms have limitations that can lead to unnecessary interventions.  Just yesterday the American Cancer Society released new guidelines on screening. The updated guidelines suggest that mammogram screening can start at age 45, rather than the age of 40 that was previously recommended. In Canada, it’s recommended you start having mammograms at age 50.

While awareness and education can help people (do you know the signs and symptoms?), incorrect information can do more harm than good. Dr. Jenn Gunter blasts Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop for trying to revive the old rumour that bras cause cancer. Gunter says, “There is no science to back up the bras and breast cancer connection,” and questions the so-called research presented, as it has not been published in any medical journal.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month features the Run for the Cure and other events to improve education and build community for those affected by the disease.  As a community we fight breast cancer, as individuals, we must go through it in our own ways. Some feel like warriors, and others  definitely not.  Not all women appreciate the hoopla of  October. This cancer survivor says she feels something akin to PTSD when she’s reminded of what she went through. Undoubtedly, she’s not alone in her feelings as this month unrolls its pink ribbons.

Janet   |  @janet_madsen

Image: Erik Charlton, Flickr (Creative Commons)