I would be lying if I said that this was an easy post to write. As a matter of fact, it is one of those times for me when I am at a loss for words. No, it doesn’t happen much. But the harsh reality is that even as I write this post I have had the conviction to stop and check on a friend. You see, she is at her follow up appointment after finding a lump in her breast and having a biopsy performed. We all know someone. Maybe it’s your mother, sister, best friend, aunt or even brother. It might even be you. But there is one thing for certain, most of us know someone who has had to fight this terrible disease. There are many statistics that have been compiled from the ages of those affected to the effectiveness of the treatment. But one of the most overwhelming and important things that I have seen in the numbers is that early detection and treatment are the most important ammunition in the battle. Seniors are also at a heightened risk.
According to the National Cancer Institute, 80% of all breast cancer occurs in women over 50, and 60% are found in women over 65. The chance that a woman will get breast cancer increases from 1-in-233 for a woman in her thirties, to a 1-in-8 chance for a woman in her eighties.
Those numbers are alarming for senior woman. Keep in mind that these numbers are greater for this age bracket for many different reasons. One is because many in this demographic don’t drive anymore thus making appointments for treatment therapies difficult.
You are still the greatest advocate for your own health at any age so take charge of your breast health by trying the following recommendations:
Be sure to have all three types of breast examinations conducted frequently: self-exam, clinical exam and mammogram. Do the self-exam regularly to look for changes or lumps. Have a clinician do a yearly exam and request a yearly mammogram screening.
Don’t let other medical factors or your own age deter you from discussing your breast health with your physician. The American Geriatrics Society recommends regular mammogram screenings for women up to age eighty-five. Get the screening you are entitled to and know that most insurance companies will pay for annual mammogram screenings.
If breast cancer is detected, there are a number of treatment options available. Information is power when considering your own breast health. Be an advocate for yourself when it comes to breast cancer awareness.