October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and one of the key components to protecting your health is early detection. Currently, the mammogram guidelines say that women should begin regular screenings at age 50, though the American Cancer Society recommends starting at age 45, and consulting with your doctor if you have a history of the disease.
Why are breast cancer screenings so crucial? Here are a few reasons:
Early detection can save your life
Since breast cancer is the second leading cancer death in the U.S. for women, getting screened according to guidelines is essential. It's even more important if you have a family history of the disease.
Life gets busy and you're balancing a lot, but you have to make time for your health. A mammogram only takes about 20 minutes in total, so you don't have to block out too much time during your day for your appointment.
Any discomfort is minimal
It's true, a mammogram comes with a certain amount of discomfort, but this lasts only a few seconds. It's worth it in order to protect your health. Keep in mind that there isn't actual pain associated with the procedure either.
Getting crucial information about your health is worth dealing with a few minutes of discomfort and using your lunch break to get to the doctor for your mammogram. If you want to know what to expect before getting a mammogram, the American Cancer Society has plenty of information here.
Lauren Levine is a freelance writer who has contributed to publications and websites including The Charlotte Observer, U.S. News & World Report, American Way magazine, The Huffington Post, Hello Giggles, Bustle, Thrillist, Thought Catalog, and others.