October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a month that we all try to create awareness of breast cancer. Breast Cancer plays a prominent part in most of our lives. We either know someone very dear to us that has it, or is a survivor, or maybe you are a survivor yourself. I have two aunts that are Breast Cancer survivors and a few close friends that have a mom who is a survivor or lost a loved one to Breast Cancer. Did you know that Breast cancer is the second most common kind of cancer in women, with skin cancer being the first?
Breast Health Education: What You Should Know #ThisDuckWearsPink
Even as the second most common cancer among women in the United States, millions of women are surviving breast cancer thanks in part to early detection and improvements in treatment. I have to tell you, knowing that my aunts both are Breast cancer survivors, I was afraid to have my first mammogram. I kept putting it off, until one night I was performing a self-exam and felt a small lump. I knew then that I could no longer put this off, and I went to my primary doctor asked for them to send me for my first mammogram.
The goal of screening exams for breast cancer is to find cancers before they start to cause symptoms (like a lump that can be felt). Screening refers to tests and exams used to find a disease, such as cancer, in people who do not have any symptoms. I was scared when I went to my appointment, and then that dreaded wait for my results! I can tell you, I was so scared, but when I finally received my results, everything was normal. That lump I felt was nothing at all, but fatty tissue. I know longer put off having my mammograms yearly, I go when I need to.
Breast cancers that are found because they are causing symptoms tend to be larger and are more likely to have already spread beyond the breast. In contrast, breast cancers found during screening exams are more likely to be smaller and still confined to the breast. It is so important to make sure you are doing self-exams at home. I do mine monthly; I always make sure I set the time aside to do it. About 1 in 8 women born today in the U.S. will get breast cancer at some point in their lives. Approximately 231,340 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in the U.S. each year.
The American Cancer Society recommends the following for early breast cancer detection in women without breast symptoms:
- Women age 40 and older should have a mammogram every year and should continue to do so for as long as they are in good health.
- Women in their 20s and 30s should have a clinical breast exam (CBE) as part of a periodic (regular) health exam by a health professional preferably every 3 years.
- Breast self-exam (BSE) is also an option for women starting in their 20s.
Please, make sure you are either doing the self-examination or going for a yearly exam. Remind your family and friends.
For most U.S. companies, fall marks open enrollment season, which means now is the time you can review your employer-sponsored benefits offerings and choose the health insurance policies that best meet your financial and medical needs. Consider insurance policies that can help ease worries about the financial cost of breast cancer if it were to occur. When caught early, the survival rate for breast cancer is as high as 99 percent, but the diagnosis can be accompanied by an expensive treatment regimen. Aflac’s cash benefits can help policyholders pay the out-of-pocket costs associated with costly cancer treatments.
A cancer insurance policy can be used not only for treatment expenses not covered by major medical insurance, but also for extra child care that may be needed, transportation to and from the doctor or treatments, and even everyday living expenses, such as mortgage payments or groceries. If you or a family member does end up being diagnosed with breast cancer, or any cancer, you want to be able to focus on recovery, not finances, and a cancer insurance policy can help you do just that. Plus, with Aflac’s recently introduced One Day PaySM initiative, which allows Aflac to process, approve and pay eligible claims in just a day, you can have the cash you need in hand faster than ever before.
For Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Aflac will be partnering with the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) again for its second annual “This Duck Wears Pink” campaign. Aflac is selling a variety of campaign-related merchandise including the plush duck, hats, and a breast cancer ribbon pin, with all the net proceeds going to the AACR for the specific purpose of funding research aimed at finding a cure for breast cancer. Aflac supports the groundbreaking work of the AACR – the first and largest cancer research organization in the world with a membership of more than 35,000 professionals residing in 101 countries working on the front lines of the effort to eradicate cancer. The AACR backs every aspect of high-quality, innovative cancer research. Head on over to, This Duck Wears Pink website for more information about Aflac’s partnership with the American Association for Cancer Research Foundation.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.