Just because October is over doesn’t mean you missed your chance to get screened for breast cancer. In case you missed it, October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which means that it was the time of year when everything and everywhere was covered in pink in an effort to raise awareness of this disease and encourage individuals to get screened. With an abundance of reminders everywhere we look, it’s no wonder that mammography rates peak each year in October.
Unfortunately, breast cancer doesn’t only effect individuals in October. One in 8 women will get diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. With the New Year fast approaching, we may be starting to reflect on all we have accomplished this year, as well as thinking about all that we hope to accomplish next year. Be sure to consider your health when thinking about what is to come.
Navigating our health in a post-pandemic world can be challenging. Since the pandemic, staying up-to-date with our routine health screenings, and more specifically, our cancer screenings, has not been a top priority for many. However, getting screened regularly is key to early detection and positive health outcomes. The earlier breast cancer is found, the more options an individual may have regarding treatment, and the better their chances are for survival. Being screened could help us live longer, happier lives with our loved ones.
In NYS, most health insurances cover yearly mammograms for women ages 40 and older at average risk and for younger women at high risk for breast cancer. Screening means checking the breasts for cancer before there are symptoms or problems. The best way to screen for breast cancer is with a mammogram. As with many other cancers, there are factors that can increase your risk for developing breast cancer, many of which we cannot control. These factors include but are not limited to, family history, personal health history, and age.
There are also certain lifestyle behaviors that can increase an individual’s risk of developing breast cancer. These factors, among others, may be a reason to start screening regularly before the recommended age.
As we close out 2023, many of us are thinking of what resolutions we will make. Some may decide to commit to exercising more, or eating healthier, but we at the Cancer Services Program of the Finger Lakes Region (CSP-FLR) want to encourage every woman to commit to getting screened regularly for breast cancer.
Individuals who are aged 40 and older, without health insurance, can contact their local CSP at 585-224-3070 or email CSP@urmc.rochester.edu to see if you qualify for free breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screenings.
Submitted by Katlyn Newberry, community outreach coordinator, Cancer Services Program of the Finger Lakes Region