Our friends at Bright Pink have made it their mission to spread knowledge about breast and ovarian cancer, empowering women to be proactive about their health. As moms we don’t always take the time to focus on ourselves and our health. We need to change that. These are great tips to get you started on the road to a healthier YOU and get proactive with your health.
- Schedule Your Well Woman’s Exam! What does a well woman’s exam consist of? A well woman’s exam should include a clinical breast exam, which is a physical exam of the breast. It should be thorough, cover all the breast tissue, and typically last several minutes. If your doctor offers this exam, say yes—and if your doctor doesn’t bring it up, make sure you do. Your provider will also perform a pelvic exam where he or she will actually feel your ovaries to see if there is anything abnormal. During your pelvic exam, you may also receive a pap smear. It’s important to note that a pap smear checks for cervical cancer – not ovarian cancer. With recent changes in pap smear guidelines, you may only receive a pap smear every few years, however it is still important that you visit your provider every year for the pelvic exam as it relates to your ovarian health. At Bright Pink, we recommend women begin mammograms at age 40. If you have a first-degree relative who was diagnosed with breast cancer, you should talk to your provider about scheduling a mammogram when you are 10 years younger than the age at which your relative was diagnosed. Finally, it’s important to find a medical professional that you trust. He or she should listen to your questions, pay attention to your concerns and provide clear recommendations you can follow. Many women find it helpful to schedule their well-woman’s exam the same time each year so they don’t forget.
- Assess Your Risk. Understanding your risk for breast and ovarian cancer is one of the most powerful things you can do. Bright Pink created AssessYourRisk.org to help you achieve just that. This Webby-award winning digital tool takes only five minutes and asks questions regarding family health history, personal health history, and lifestyle factors to provide you with a customized assessment of your baseline risk for breast and ovarian cancer. This quiz should not replace the need for conversations with your doctor, but enhance those conversations during your next appointment. Finding out your baseline risk is the first step in being proactive. No matter what your risk level is, we don’t want this process to feel scary. All risk levels are manageable.
- Explore Your Genetics. ExploreYourGenetics.org is Bright Pink’s latest digital tool full of comprehensive information about genetic testing. The tool provides a high-level overview of the connection between genetics and breast and ovarian cancer. It is a one-stop-shop for practical and easy-to-understand information about the different types of genetic tests, including the labs that offer them and it works to help women understand the difference between the various options available to them. Insurance? We’ve got that covered too! ExploreYourGenetics.org supplies the tools for navigating insurance and other financial barriers, and it’s your new go-to resource for useful information on how to access quality professional advice from genetic counselors and physicians.
- Do a self-exam each month. Breast health reminders are a once-a-month text message to remind you to get to know your normal. We know life gets busy and remembering to check for the signs and symptoms of breast cancer isn’t always at the top of your to-do list. Think of Breast Health Reminders as your own personal alarm clock. Text the word “PINK” to 59227 and be sure to reply “Y” when prompted and that’s it! Now you’ll never forget to check-in with your chest. Instead you’ll receive a fun, low-stress reminder.