Pink is typically associated with Spring, Schiaparelli or that fabulous Audrey Hepburn movie, "Funny Face." And, while it is the color for princesses and ballerinas, it is also the color of Breast Cancer Awareness and the Fight for the Cure and a daily reminder to "be aware."
One in Eight
The statistics tell us that one out of every eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. The American Cancer Society reports that 192,370 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year (and 1,910 men). More than 40,000 of these women will lose their battle as will 440 men. The hopeful news is that breast cancer incidence has dropped two percent every year since 1999 and there are more than 2.5 million survivors among us today.
While we know there are some factors which increase your risk for being diagnosed (women over 40 are the highest risk group for this disease, family prevalence is another risk factor), the reality is there is no crystal ball. Some women with numerous risk factors never develop the disease while those with no risk factors get a shocking and sudden diagnosis.
Caregivers – Take Care When It Comes to Breast Exams
So I'm sounding the clarion call especially for family caregivers to get their annual mammogram. A National Alliance for Caregiving study showed that 22% of female caregivers over 40 do not get their annual mammogram.
While I know that recently there has been controversy around how soon and how frequently women should be getting a mammogram -- as with any chronic illness, prevention is key. Many physicians feel that these screenings save thousands of lives every year. If you need to find free or low cost mammogram screenings visit the American Cancer Society Web site.
It can seem like a time-consuming luxury to get your annual mammogram if you are overwhelmed, tired and worn out from your caregiving duties. But, in the end, if you become ill, who will take care of your loved one? We all have to remind ourselves: caregiving includes caring for yours.
Given the many crucial issues surrounding the physical, mental, emotional, and lifestyle demands associated with caregiving, it’s important for families to be aware of where to go for answers, support, and encouragement.
Caring for a Loved One with Alzheimer's Disease: A Guide for the Home Caregiver
by Peter Rabins, M.D., MPH, and Ann Morrison, RN, Ph.D.