Practice What You Preach

by Melissa Brunner

We are in the last few days of October, the month when we are inundated with all things pink! Many of us hop on the bandwagon, buying products, sporting clothing or participating in events designed to raise awareness of breast cancer.

People seem to be listening to the message. Survival rates for breast cancer are better than ever. The National Cancer Institute shows that, from 2001 to 2009, the mortality rate decreased 2.1 percent annually. The figure is thanks in no small part to early detection, which is best achieved by women over the age of 40 having annual mammograms and, as early as your 20s, starting annual clinical breast exams.

But the positive trend can only continue if everyone who sports their pink is also following through on the steps needed to have the best possible chance of survival should they ever develop breast cancer. I have done a lot of stories on the importance of early detection and interviewed dozens of survivors. So, I will share with you that, when I turned 40 in September, one of the first things I did was make a mammogram appointment. I'm pleased to report everything was normal - and I even got free pink nail polish since I went in October!

Now, it's your turn! If you are over the age of 40 and have avoided it, don't let this Breast Cancer Awareness Month end without picking up the phone and making your appointment. Daughters, offer to take mom for a "girls' day" if she's been skirting the issue!

Wearing pink is one thing, but truly living the message is a practice that could save your life.

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