Breast cancer survivor Sheryl Crow has a message for women: Stop making excuses and get your annual mammogram.
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Grammy winner has penned a moving essay, urging women to fight “pink fatigue” — the tendency to become desensitized to or tune out the ubiquitous Breast Cancer Awareness Month color during October — and remind each other to schedule yearly mammograms.
“I consider it my responsibility, as someone who credits surviving breast cancer to early detection and my commitment to getting my annual screening, to tell every woman I meet she needs to stop making excuses and schedule her exam,” Crow, who was diagnosed with cancer more than 11 years ago, wrote in an essay for People.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month has been observed since 1985, with the color pink showing up everywhere from NFL stadiums to retail stores. There are countless charity events and fundraisers taking place across the country, which seem to increase by the year.
“It’s no wonder that by now many of us have become somewhat desensitized to the pink deluge, while others are guilty of tuning out entirely,” Crow explains. Which is why she feels it is so important to reiterate again and again: “Just as it was true in 1985, it remains true today that mammography is the very best tool we have in the fight against breast cancer.”
The American Cancer Society recommends women ages 45 to 54 at average risk should get a mammogram every year; women 55 and older should get one every two years or continue yearly exams. But, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 65 percent of women over 40 had a mammogram within the past two years. This is scary, because breast cancer is the second biggest cause of cancer death for women in the United States, per the CDC.
Why do so many women avoid scheduling an exam? Crow mentions many reasons, and while they may seem absurd, they are also totally relatable. “Whether it’s fear of finding out they have cancer or a misconception that a mammogram isn’t the right type of screening for their breast type, excuses abound, and many of them come from a place of fear or misinformation,” she writes. “In fact, a recent survey found that fear of physical discomfort is the number-one cited reason that women across the country have never had a mammogram.”
But Crow points out that advances in technology have yielded more accurate mammograms that can detect more invasive cancers and reduce false positives, such as the Genius 3D Mammography. They also aren’t as painful anymore and can detect breast cancer for dense breasts. Basically, there are no excuses, ladies!
We applaud Crow for her efforts in raising awareness for such an important female health issue and hope that her words will encourage women to schedule their annual exams ASAP.
For more information on breast cancer screening, click here.
What Do YOU Think?
Is Sheryl Crow’s message an important one? When do you think women should start getting mammograms? Why do you think women avoid getting them?