A Post for My Staten Island Sisters About Borough President Oddo's Breast Cancer Screenings
There is more to my story than just girl gets mammogram, girl gets diagnosed, girl gets cured (God willing). I want to use my platform, my network and my words to help others know what their risk is what-is-your-breast-cancer-risk.html and also to be informed enough to make decisions about how to best know their boobs.
Breasts are changing and a big focal point of our lives as women (I wrote about my complicated relationship with my breasts here complicated-history-of-boobs-a-treatise-by-a-breast-cancer-patient.html) and for all of you out there with two healthy breasts may they stay that way forever.
However, 1 in 8 women in their lives will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Most women diagnosed are over 50. I was 39 years old. Upon my diagnosis, when I sat with my gynecologist he informed me that he sees more and more women YOUNGER than me being diagnosed with breast cancer right here on Staten Island (Hi, Dr Prue - I am sharing your amazing self again). The ruling for screening mammograms is now 45 and up - I would have been dead if my first screening was at 45.
There is a stop gap of community based options sponsored by Borough President James Oddo to help any woman get screened when and if she wants (and she SHOULD want...). There is sometimes a resistance to going to get that screening or managing the health insurance labyrinth to get it done - I get it. There is also us as women who are busy doing, doing, doing for others - whether it be our husbands, our kids, our parents, siblings, so on and so on - well you get the idea.
Everyone I told about my diagnosis took the opportunity to "confess" to me that it had been so long since their last mammogram or that they never did a mammogram. Everyone is shocked to hear someone is sick and it hits them but then, they can move on. They can get distracted by life and all of the concerns on their desk, on their life and on their hearts. For those of us who have this diagnosis, it is easier to see with clarity and to prioritize ME - I know I need to practice self care and follow doctor's orders and get treatments and/or surgeries and/or whatever I needed to do to hopefully be cured.
For you, sitting there, you do not know - you are not sure what is going on in your body. I do not think everyone will get breast cancer but if 8 women are reading this right now, 1 of you will be diagnosed.
Please take advantage of things in our community here on Staten Island (which has the highest rate of breast cancer in all of the boroughs of New York) to get screened, to get knowledge and to understand that sometimes breast cancer is not due to hereditary factors (family history has to start somewhere), it does not always show up as a lump in your breast and that understanding your risks is not as simple as checking boxes that say "no risk".
There are free Uber rides to get you to your screening --> find out more here www.silive.com/news/2017/09/free_uber_rides_to_brest_cance.html. There are also days where there are screenings available on Staten Island --> check it out here: www.statenislandusa.com/news/bp-oddo-announces-mammography-screening-dates-for-2017.
Know that having cancer is not a death sentence, it is better to know than to not know and it is also better to have the screening and be "clear" for another year of fun until it is time to be squeezed again. I am here if anyone wants someone to hold their hand through it or needs assistance.
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