Just because October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, is coming to an end: it doesn’t mean that you should put off thinking about your breast health for another year. For the Love of Cups, is a nonprofit organization that began here in the Bay Area but is expanding to other parts of the country. Founded by Lisa Norman after her own battle with breast cancer, For the Love of Cups’ mission is to end the disparities in breast cancer outcomes through advocacy, education and community support.
There are several barriers that women face when it comes to breast health including cost and access. According to Lisa, one of the biggest barriers occurs before you even get a mammogram; and that is breast density. According to For the Love of Cups website; “Breast density is recognized as one of, and possibly the strongest risk factor associated with development of breast cancer. We believe every person has a right to informed choices about their health and access to the most appropriate advanced screening method.”
How is breast density a barrier? Imagine getting your mammogram back and the radiologist gives you the okay. That everything looks normal. Sure, it might look normal, but if your breast density is not taken into consideration, the radiologist should really be telling you that your mammogram is “inconclusive.” Your primary care doctor should be telling that to you as well.
So momma, do you even know where to look for the breast density on your mammogram? Actually, have you even seen your mammogram or are you just taking the doctors’ word that everything is ok? Do you compare the data year after year to see what is changing?
We need to learn to be better advocates for ourselves and that includes our health. You can start that advocacy journey by asking these 4 crucial questions to ask at your mammogram appointment.
- Will my insurance cover Breast Tomosynthesis (3D Mammogram), and adjunct screening, Ultrasound or MRI if necessary?
- Do I have dense breast tissue?
- Is genetic testing or counseling recommended?
- How can I get a copy of my mammogram report?
Continue your breast health education by doing a self-guided breast exam. Who knows your body better? #feelyourcups
Don’t overlook scheduling your mammogram. Yes, we are in a pandemic, but that is not going to stop breast cancer. Ask about the COVID-19 safety precautions that are in place where you will get your mammogram done. Know that they are taking it seriously, just as you should be taking your breasts seriously. Need more accountability? Tell a friend – hold each other accountable and get it done!
And if you need support along your breast health journey, ask. Support groups are an important part; not only as you find your voice, but also as you are faced with inconclusive results, are battling breast cancer, or are recovering. You are not in this alone.