While this blog is intended for parenting advice for parents of preschoolers, it’s also my mission to help moms remember to take care of themselves. As a breast cancer survivor, I can’t stress enough the importance of mammograms. My cancer was detected through a routine mammogram and even after knowing exactly where the cancer was, neither my doctors nor I could feel the lump.
So, moms, PLEASE take care of yourselves for the sake of your children. Get your mammograms annually, do self exams, pay attention to your body. According to the most recent stats from the American Cancer Society (ACS), the chance of a woman having invasive breast cancer some time during her life is about 1 in 8. The chance of dying from breast cancer is about 1 in 35.
Ladies, that means that when you're in your tot soccer class and you take a look around the circle of 8 moms, one of you will likely get breast cancer. Please don't think it can't happen to you. Remember, my cancer was detected through a routine mammogram. I never felt a lump or any pain at all. Because my little lump was detected so early, my oncologist dubbed it an "excellent little cancer." As cancer goes, that was a nice diagnosis to have. It was excellent because it was found early was extremely susceptible to treatment.
I went through a few surgeries and a summer of daily radiation and have been in tip top shape ever since. There is little history of breast cancer in my family - it just happened and no one knows why.
So, to be the best parent you can be, you must take care of yourself. The ACS recommends that women without a family history of breast cancer get their first mammogram at 40. If you have a history, you need to talk to your doctor about the appropriate age to begin. A mammogram is a walk in the park compared to breast cancer treatment. Take a girlfriend, build in a lunch out at a real restaurant to celebrate your health.
Susan G. Koman is one of the wonderful groups of people who dedicate their lives to cancer research and education. There are events in every state, but one I want to point out is the Pink Party coming up in Atlanta. For more information, visit www.thepinkparty.com
Don’t forget, to be a great parent, you have to take care of yourself.