To Mammography or Not

The following guest post comes to us via Cynthia.

questionOctober is probably one of the best examples of a public awareness campaign catching on and sticking. Maybe you already knew, thanks to the ubiquitous pink ribbons you see all around you this month, but October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a time to encourage people to receive screening for the most common cancer among American women. The movement to promote breast cancer awareness has become pervasive. But for me, breast cancer is more than just a campaign — it is a disease that has become a part of my family history. And it has become personal, with numerous friends diagnosed and getting treatment, some of them before they reached the age of 35.

Contradictions regarding mammography exist within the medical community. Where did all of this put me?

When I turned 30, I talked to my doctor about my family history and the concerns I had about breast cancer. Although most health experts don’t recommend a mammography until a woman is in her 40s or 50s, she provided me with a referral to get a mammogram so that we had a baseline image for future comparison. I was anxious while I sat in the waiting room at the imaging center, but I also felt like I was being responsible and proactive when it came to my health. The mammogram was normal and it was put into my file. It wouldn’t be looked at again until I was 40, when my ob/gyn recommended that I get my next mammogram.

This October isn’t just Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It’s also the month I turned 40. I am preparing for my next mammogram, but I have questions for my doctor before I make the appointment. Is it really necessary? Can I wait to get my next mammogram? I have a lot of questions, because there was conflicting information handed down earlier this year from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Continue reading

October: Breast Cancer Awareness and Memories of a Mother’s Fight

The following guest post was written by Catherine Crook, who is a senior at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and interning at Planned Parenthood Arizona in the communications and marketing department. A lifelong Arizonan, she has spent every October promoting breast cancer awareness and taking part in citywide events in Phoenix since 2001.

mother_and_daughterWith October in full swing, your calendars are probably already filled with costume shopping, haunted house visits, and drives north to see the leaves — all things we can’t help but love about October.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a time to share our stories to raise awareness of breast health.

For me, October is a reminder. When I was 13 years old, my mom was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer, marking the beginning of a long and difficult road ahead. I don’t remember everything, but I do remember that it did not feel fair. My mom is so compassionate; she will cry watching TV for the loss of someone she has never met. Few things make her happier than making new friends on planes and dancing to Aerosmith or Darius Rucker. Starbucks is her only addiction and she takes better care and a deeper interest in her hair than most professional stylists.

At the midpoint of enduring four months of chemotherapy, she lost all of her hair, which I was sure would destroy her. To my delight and surprise, she found a place that sold nice wigs almost identical to her blonde, preppy, shoulder-length cut, and tried to work her way back into the world. At this time, I was still fearful of becoming a victim to my own optimism regarding my mom’s disease, and there wasn’t a day that passed that I didn’t worry about a phone call that would take all of us to our knees. Continue reading

Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

  • Because Planned Parenthood is so committed to women’s health and providing the best preventive care possible, we’ve just pledged to dedicate $3 million to launch an initiative to fight breast cancer with expanded screenings and education! Woo hoo! (MSNBC)
  • Dear Todd Akin, Your assertion that a woman’s body can “shut the whole thing down” to prevent herself from being impregnated by her rapist is the biggest crock of $&*% we’ve ever heard. Sincerely, Legitimate Ob/gyn Professionals (NYT)
  • You know who’s more extreme on abortion than Todd Akin? Mitt Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan! Boom. (The Daily Beast)
  • Please take a look at this fantabulous video extolling a myriad of benefits of contraception. It is so worth your time. (Guttmacher)
  • The tone deaf GOP is going all in on a plan to abolish abortion, and they could give a friggin’ crap if you were “legitimately raped” or molested. (Jezebel)
  • Remember that one time when Paul Ryan co-sponsored legislation with Todd Akin using the language “forcible rape” instead of just plain “rape” — as if there were different categories and classifications of rape? Well, he now insists “rape is rape” and pretends like this is just basic common sense that he’s always embraced! HA! It’s unfortunate that rape wasn’t “rape” when he insisted upon using the “forcible rape” phrase in the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. (RH Reality Check)
  • The Daily Beast has an epic slideshow detailing the history of abortion rights in America. (Daily Beast)
  • It’s time to panic: Gonorrhea is becoming resistant to the only medical treatment left. (The Grio)
  • Isn’t it interesting that anti-choicers have taken extreme interest in a black woman’s death following an abortion (which is extremely rare), rather than the much higher rate of mortality among black women after childbirth? (Double X)
  • The Catholic Church: a long legacy of protecting the pre-born from not being born, but not protecting post-born children — from rape. (Gawker)
  • In related religious news, the Christian right’s affinity for the notion of fetal personhood has absolutely no scriptural basis. Whatsoever. (Role Reboot)
  • The scary world that awaits us if the GOP wins their war on a woman’s right to choose. (Mother Jones)
  • Medical science has proved that circumcision has significant health benefits, including decreasing the risk of cancer and lowering HIV transmission rates. However, circumcision rates are plummeting, which is probably going to cost the United States billions in health care costs. (USA Today)
  • Sadly, a young pregnant leukemia patient has died due to the failure of the Dominican Republic to allow her timely access to chemotherapy — all because because abortion is illegal in the DR and life-saving chemotherapy treatments are likely to terminate a pregnancy. (CNN)