As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Jennifer Garner has shared a video of her mammogram. Here’s why it’s so important.
October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month around the world. The aim is to highlight the importance of breast cancer awareness, education and research. That’s because, every 15 seconds, a woman somewhere in the world is diagnosed with breast cancer. It’s every 10 minutes here in the UK.
While 78% of diagnosed patients survive the disease each year, over 11,000 people don’t – but 23% of these are preventable cases. Early diagnosis has been proven to result in higher success rates, as more than 90% of women diagnosed at the earliest stage survive their disease for at least five years. That is in comparison to around 15% of women diagnosed with the most advanced stage of disease.
Actor Garner has shared a video to help highlight breast cancer awareness among her fans as part of the global campaign. In the video, Garner gets her annual mammogram and guides viewers through the process.
She captioned the video: “Every October I have a standing date. For a mammogram. For me, having the appointment on the books makes it routine, like the dentist.”
She continued: “I know it’s scary, sisters, but just do it—the next best thing to an all clear is early detection. To everyone in the thick of the battle—respect and love and strength to you. #nationalbreastcancerawarenessmonth #octoberisforpink #idonttakemycleartestforgranted #thankyoudrgoldberg ”
According to Cancer Research, the risk of breast cancer is generally very low for women under 50. Mammograms are more difficult to read in younger women because their breast tissue is denser. So the patterns on the mammogram don’t show up as well. There is little evidence to show that regular mammograms for women below the screening age would reduce deaths from breast cancer. However, people at a higher risk of breast cancer because of family history or gene mutation are recommended to have regular MRI scans or mammograms from as young as 20.
Garner’s video serves as an essential reminder that we should routinely check our breasts and always book a GP appointment if there are any concerns.
The NHS website outlines the following changes you should look out for:
- a change in the size, outline or shape of your breast
- a change in the look or feel of your skin, such as puckering or dimpling
- a new lump, thickening or bumpy area in one breast or armpit that is different from the same area on the other side
- nipple discharge that’s not milky
- bleeding from your nipple
- a moist, red area on your nipple that doesn’t heal easily
- any change in nipple position, such as your nipple being pulled in or pointing differently
- a rash on or around your nipple
- any discomfort or pain in one breast, particularly if it’s a new pain and doesn’t go away (although pain is only a symptom of breast cancer in rare cases)