Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Moment of Clarity

"What we need is a moment of clarity," said Ambassador Nancy B. Brinker, founder of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure

I must admit that after a week of hearing, disbelieving and reading, that is an understatement. 

I am a breast cancer survivor. Without self exam at age 39, the tumor would have gone undetected with a mammogram for another two years. In other words, I would have been dead. As I now approach the age of 60, I realize that in that 20 years, it is obvious that we still need to close the huge technology gap in mammography. That is what this scientific study says to me. We have the players. We have the home field advantage. We have the coaches and now that the playbook may be changing - We need the equipment!

The one tool in our arsenal has been and always should be - know your body. The technology for mammograms is not equal to the task.  The organizations who can make that change are in play already. Join them and make your voice heard

I invite survivors to lead women calmly to a reasonable and trusted solution. Women are often categorized as emotional and hysterical. Wrong? Prove it! Read, understand and then engage other women to do the same. The health care debates continue. I do not believe this to be rationing but an approach that may be better for us in the long run. 

The truth is, more often than not, we survivors found the lump ourselves. For us, regular screenings are now a way of life. For those of you confused, angry and threatened by this study - you are wasting your energy. What the studies failed to collate is that women worry about breast cancer - period. False positives are no more worrisome than the nagging feeling that crops up every now and again. My advice as a survivor and more importantly a woman - Do a self exam and discuss the issues with your trusted health care physician. Be informed. There is no mandate, research or guideline that will ever replace knowing your own body. That is what a wise grandma, mother, sister, daughter, friend and colleague would and should do! 

Do you have a story to share? A bit of wisdom? Speak up and share your comments here at Wise Grandma.

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