Lots of things happen in October. There is Oktoberfest, Halloween and Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

But this is not October. It is not Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It doesn’t have to be. Breast cancer is not going away.

Don’t let the foggy weather, your own personal laziness or fear or the busyness of this social season mask your need to be vigilant and make that appointment for a screening mammogram.

Mammograms are done in a variety of places, including our local hospitals and mobile units at various sites around the County.

Once the mammogram is done, diagnostic procedures may follow. And once a diagnosis of breast cancer is made, treatment will usually be required.

In addition to mammograms, it is recommended that women do monthly breast self-exams.

Ninety percent of all women find their own lumps. All statistics show that the earlier breast cancer is detected, the better the options for treatment.

The number of new breast cancer cases is on the rise at earlier ages and in women older than 65.

Early detection and the latest technology show that death from breast cancer is declining.

Why? Simply, because we are catching and treating it early, before it spreads.

All you moms, aunts and cousins need to wake up and go for it. A mammogram takes minutes to do and could save your life.

Even men need to know the signs and check their chests periodically.

Men can get a mammogram as well if something appears suspicious on their chest or if they are from a family where all the women have breast cancer.

We all want to live long and healthy lives. Breast cancer is not a death sentence.

It does take a chunk out of your life once it is detected, but if caught early, the time from detection to treatment to wellness passes quickly.

Lots of women have positive outlooks because of the heavy emphasis on education and because of the successes of so many survivors.

One out of eight women is predicted to get breast cancer during their lifetimes. Yet, it is not going away.

Because you are a woman and getting older, whether you have the disease in your family or not, you are vulnerable.

Take the time, make the call and get that screening mammogram.

If you want more information about breast cancer, mammography and how you can obtain it regardless of your financial status, there are several resources available.

One I am most familiar with is D’Feet Breast Cancer, a Galveston County organization whose function is to help those individuals who are uninsured or underinsured obtain the important test.

All you need to do is call the program phone number at the Galveston County Health District, 409-938-2327, and speak to personnel to see if you qualify for the program.

The program even has bilingual staff.

D’Feet has been actively educating the community and doing this program for the past 14 years. It is a grass-roots, all-volunteer organization that started just for the women and men of Galveston County.

So much for the commercial. Just please go somewhere. If necessary, go with a friend, but go and let this lifesaving screening save your life.

Dr. Michael M. Warren is Ashbel Smith professor of surgery at University of Texas Medical Branch Division of Urology. Write him at michael.warren@galvnews.com.

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