Sheryl Crow is a Grammy Award-winning musician and breast cancer survivor who is passionate about spreading the message of early detection. She is the spokesperson for Hologic’s Genius 3D Mammography exam.
The very first National Breast Cancer Awareness Month was observed in 1985 when the American Cancer Society and a pharmaceutical company partnered to create a campaign that would promote mammography as the most effective weapon in the fight against breast cancer. Thirty-two years later, the observance permeates nearly every aspect of our culture during the month of October. From NFL players lacing up pink cleats and major beauty and fashion brands offering limited edition products in partnership with breast cancer charities, to community walks and runs taking place throughout the month in nearly every city across the country — it seems as though the entire country turns pink at a level that only increases each passing 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.
That “pink fatigue” is the reason that it is so critical that people like me, a breast cancer survivor who happens to also be a public figure, use our voices to remind women that the core message of BCAM is one that none of us can afford to tune out. 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. Fortunately, today’s breast cancer screening technology has advanced tremendously since 1985, and since I was diagnosed with cancer more than 11 years ago. Now, we have access to more accurate mammograms, such as the Genius 3D Mammography exam, that detects more invasive cancers, reduces false positives and is clinically proven as superior for women of all ages – even those with dense breasts compared to traditional 2D mammography.
Despite these advancements, and routinely being bombarded with pink throughout the month of October, so many women still avoid scheduling their annual mammograms, for a number of reasons. 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. 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.
RELATED VIDEO: Sheryl Crow Talks Breast Cancer Prevention
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. We can no longer say we are fearful of pain or discomfort – that issue has been resolved with the new SmartCurve system which features a curved compression surface that mirrors the shape of a woman’s breast to reduce pinching. We can no longer say we don’t have time for an inaccurate exam to cause us to have a false positive and come back for additional screenings. And finally, we can no longer say that because we have dense breasts, mammograms aren’t able to detect breast cancer for us.
Most importantly, we need to fight the pink fatigue this year during Breast Cancer Awareness Month and remind one another that each of us can play a significant role in the fight against breast cancer by simply taking the time to schedule our mammograms.