October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. I am one of the women who go every year for a mammogram because my grandmother and aunts all had breast cancer. My grandmother died when my dad was a teenager. My aunts were lucky enough to survive because of the medical strides made since 1950.
Recently, I have had several friends diagnosed with breast cancer. One of them has an aggressive form of the disease, but because it was found early, doctors are very hopeful. Another friend had a complete mastectomy. Both of these women are alive because they did not put off their mammograms. They took care of themselves. Cancer has not been an easy road for either of them, but I am blessed they are still with us.
What’s your excuse for not calling for the screening? I have heard, “It hurts.” Not that bad, it’s a pinch for a minute. I’ve also heard, “I don’t have time.” My annual mammogram takes less than half an hour, and they schedule appointments throughout the day and evening. Make the appointment. You are important and needed!
How can you help women who have breast cancer?
How about contacting the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides against Breast Cancer? They sponsor walks that “unite nearly 300 communities with a shared determination to finish the fight against breast cancer,” according to the website.
Walk participants raise money that enables the American Cancer Society to fund breast cancer research and help people take steps to reduce their risk or find breast cancer early when it is most treatable.
Most importantly, pray and be a good listener! Schedule your mammogram today.
And remember Women of the ELCA is about “Raising Up Healthy Women and Girls.”
Dawn Smith is in her second term on the executive board for Women of the ELCA. She lives in Midland, Mich., and is a member of St. Timothy Lutheran Church there.