Since October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we are currently bombarded with pink ribbons, pink goal posts in the NFL, pink carry bags at the grocery, even my eggs have pink ribbons on their shells.
While I am very pleased at the notoriety that my affliction has engendered, there is one simple message that needs to be focused on by healthy women and it seems to be overlooked: the absolute necessity of annual mammograms, especially for women 55-plus.
Since I was diagnosed in July, I have become an expert on this subject. I am amazed at the inroads the medical community has made in the treatment of breast cancer if it is diagnosed early.
If you talk to anyone who is in this amazing sorority of sisters, the breast cancer survivors, you will hear the importance of early diagnosis.
If you Google the American Cancer Society's statistics, you will find that the average age for breast cancer is 61 and it occurs most often in white women, yet reports have recently come out recommending that women over 55 do not need an annual mammogram.
If I had waited another year, or even two, my story would be so different. The most important message I can bequeath to anyone reading this is do not listen to these groups that say older women do not need annual mammograms!
I am proud to be a "poster child" for early detection and treatment! We have an incredible medical team in Bradenton -- use it. Urge your mothers, your sisters, and your friends to please GET A MAMMOGRAM ANNUALLY!
Donna J. Fournier