It's October! The month where stores sell pink bagels, football players wear pink gloves, and basketballers rock pink sneakers. It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and it's been pretty successful. Unless you live off the grid, you probably know about breast cancer. You probably know that it's a risk for ALL humans, not just women. And, while it can be a very treatable cancer, breast cancer is a big, scary deal: 40,000 people die from breast cancer every year in the United States.
What's the easiest thing you can do to find this cancer early and increase your chances of avoiding it? Get your annual checkup, which should include a breast exam. Current best-practice recommendations also include an annual mammogram for people with breasts who are 40 or older.
Ok, ok. Checkup. Mammogram. That's all well and good if you've got great health insurance and can cover the co-pays for imaging…but we all know we are living in an age where health insurance is out of reach for many Americans and lots of families skip preventative screenings due to finances.
Did you know that Planned Parenthood clinics can provide well exams and preventative screenings, regardless of your ability to pay? Planned Parenthood funding has been greatly reduced in recent years, but the centers that remain open are staffed by highly qualified practitioners who offer compassionate, comprehensive care. Do not let lack of insurance keep you from this vital screening. If you can get to a Planned Parenthood clinic near you, schedule an appointment for your well person care!
The National Breast Cancer Foundation also partners with medical facilities around the country to provide free mammograms (and other treatment options as necessary) for patients who are otherwise unable to pay. Check this map to see if they provide services near you.
The Susan G. Komen foundation provides financial assistance for screenings and treatments if someone is diagnosed with breast cancer. They staff a help line 24/7 to connect you to resources near you, and have affiliate chapters nationwide. Check their database for your area to see which screening and treatment resources are nearby!
We hope you'll take advantage of Breast Cancer Awareness Month to not only build awareness of this cancer, but to schedule some medical care for yourself!