Everyone continues to talk about the U.S Preventative Task Force’s decision to change mammogram guidelines that used to be recommended for women beginning at the age of 40 to now beginning at the age of 50. Although The Maurer Foundation and The American Cancer Society still stand by beginning at the age of 40, I am constantly still asked at programs about the benefits of breast self-exam every month and mammograms starting at 40 years old.
There’s a lot of controversy as to why the guidelines have been changed and even though we do know that the risk for breast cancer not only increases with age but the highest incidence of the disease occurs in women in their 70’s, we also know that early detection is the best form of prevention. Although most lumps are not cancerous it is important to be your own health advocate and bring any changes that you might see or feel to the attention of your doctor.
On February 28th 2010, the Young Survivors Coalition will be hosting their 10th Annual Conference for Young Women Affected By Breast Cancer in Atlanta, Georgia. This event is catered to women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer under the age of 45. I have been privileged to represent the Maurer Foundation at this conference for the past 2 years. and every year the conference grows and grows. Nearly 1000 people showed up for the conference last year in Dallas, Texas! I have met so many amazing people through this conference and whenever I think about how frustrating it is to fight for early detection, I think about all the courageous women I’ve met at these YSC conferences and how their voices deserve to be heard. Keep up the good fight!