Mammograms can save lives

Adri's Adventures

Did you know that the third Friday in October is National Mammogram Day? And wouldn’t you know it, today just happens to be the third Friday in October.

As the month of October is focused around breast cancer awareness, I thought today’s column would be a great place to focus in on the importance of being proactive about detecting breast cancer.

Mammograms are used to help detect breast cancer. The procedure is not invasive and on average takes less than a half hour to complete.

Women age 40 and older are recommended to get a mammogram annually. Women who are at a high risk for breast cancer or have a strong history of breast cancer are recommended to start getting yearly mammograms at age 30.

I encourage women to put themselves and their health first and follow through with these annual check-ups. It could end up saving your life. Call your doctor. Get the facts. Take time to care for yourself.

According to the National Breast Cancer Center Foundation, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. It is also the second leading cause of death for women.

I have seen the impact of breast cancer on friends and family members. My aunt lost her hair. My cousin had to reconstruct the upper portion of her body. Many women in my life have undergone surgeries, radiation and chemo to combat it.

I’ve had the privilege of hearing the stories of Webster City breast cancer survivors throughout my two and a half years here as well.

Every story is different. Every survivor was affected in a unique way.

The women (and yes, some men too) who go through this are the epitome of strength, courage and faith.

With early detection, the survival rate for this cancer climbs higher and higher.

Over 3.3 million breast cancer survivors are alive in the United States today, according to the National Breast Cancer Center Foundation.

If there is someone in your life currently battling breast cancer, be supportive. Be kind.

Throughout the rest of this month take time to talk with a survivor (if they are willing to share, that is). This community is full of people with big hearts and helpful attitudes. Whether it’s bringing someone a meal, driving them to an appointment or providing a shoulder to lean on, it could mean the world to someone in need of support.

This month we stand with survivors and remember those who fought courageously to the end.