During October, the world is covered in pink. And we’re grateful. Because what’s the norm today has been a slow progression of awareness, fundraising and research for breast cancer prevention, treatment and awareness. It’s a color of hope for a cure and a sense of community. Of course, when the month ends, we still have to be mindful. My annual mammogram happened to hit in the middle of October. And a few days later I got a letter that brought a sigh of relief—my exam was negative for abnormalities, but also came with a set of bullet points about guidelines from the American College of Radiology and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines:
- Annual screening mammography at the age of 40
- Annual physical examination by your physician
- Monthly breast self-examination
Self-examination. It comes back to me doing my part. And I know I’m not doing it regularly. I know should do better. Because women often are the first to find an abnormality. I did my research and learned that a woman should do her exam 7-10 days after her menstrual cycle starts. Now how to remind myself? Here are a few ideas:
- Download Keep a Breast’s Check Yourself! app and schedule a monthly reminder.
- Print out this Breast Self-Exam Shower Card from Healthy Women and keep it in a drawer you regularly use so it’s top of mind each day.
- More responsive to texts? Bright Pink will text you every month with a Breast Health Reminder.
- Another friend puts a bright pink fragrant sachet in her bra drawer. When she opens it each morning, she’s reminded that she should be checking her breasts regularly.
- Maybe it’s just scheduling an appointment with yourself on your calendar.
It’s simple but it’s powerful. I’m starting this new healthy habit today. I hope you do too!