Autumn has long been associated with the bright and beautiful colors of the changing leaves. Until twenty-five years ago orange, red, and yellow were the colors of fall. That began to change in 1985 when October was designated as Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Now it seems pink is the new color of fall. Every year countless organization and volunteers continue to spread the word about the risks of breast cancer and raise funds for research. The message is clear, early detection is the key to surviving a disease that will strike approximately 200,000 women every year.
A first degree relative doubles a woman's risk of getting breast cancer. While that may ease the minds of those without a family history, it should be noted that 70% - 80% of all breast cancers occur in women without a family history.
Early detection typically involves utilizing self breast exams, clinical breast exams, and mammograms. The National Breast Cancer Foundation has developed an online tool to help you organize a plan and provide reminders to help you stay on track. Start customizing your own Early Detection Plan by entering your birth date, family history, name, and email.
Recommendations for self breast exams, clinical exams and mammograms will be provided. Remember, these are general recommendations complied using limited information. Only you and your doctor can make decisions about what is right for you. Consult your health care provider with regard to the frequency and types of tests and examination.
After you fill in the date of your last clinical exam and mammography, you will be able to select the types of reminders you would like to receive. It's up to you to follow the plan, but a text message or email reminder might be just the extra push you need to develop habits that can save your life.