Home / Posts tagged "mammogram"
The Best Mother’s Day Gift

The Best Mother’s Day Gift

Happy Mother’s Day!

It’s the time of year we all pause to give thanks and express our love and appreciation for our mothers. We honor those mothers we’re fortunate to have close by and the moms we appreciate across the miles.  We cherish memories of mothers to whom we’ve had to say good-bye, at least on this side of life.  And for too many of us, Mother’s Day’s day is a painful holiday, reminders of unfulfilled desires to experience motherhood ourselves, or punctuated by lingering grief and loss.

There are many reasons Mother’s Day is a meaningful season for us at Women’s Health of Chicago.  We’ve devoted to helping women plan motherhood through preconception counseling, and supporting patients tackling the toughest fertility challenges . We’ve counseled mothers on the sensitivity of a teen’s first visit to a women’s health specialist, and educated thousands of young women on the risks of sexually transmitted diseases.  I’ve had the pleasure and gratification of caring for generations of mothers in the same family. Truly, I’ve been sincerely moved by the depth of the bond shared between mother and daughter.

Mother’s Day Health Alert

However, it’s important during this season to remind all women that while you’re selecting greeting cards and making plans for Mother’s Day dinner, please take time to make sure your mom and all the important mothers in your life have had an annual physical exam and mammogram in the past 12 months.  Sure, load up on beautiful flowers, delicious treats, picnic fun and the gathering of family to honor the matriarch who’s made it all possible.  We’ve traded a few ideas in our office for handmade gifts designed for lasting memories, all in additionHappy Mother's Day from Women's Health of Chicago to the best gift of all.

Best Mother’s Day Gift

There is no better Mother’s Day gift than gently reminding, and harassing if necessary, your beloved mothers to schedule their annual physicals and mammograms.  Remember, early detection is the best weapon we have in the fight against breast cancer, and a host of other diseases that are nearly 100% curable if detected in early stages.  The rate of Type II Diabetes is at epidemic proportions in the U.S. and there’s so much we can do if it is detected early.  There are too many reasons to list here to remain vigilant about maintaining and supporting the maintenance of good health in our mothers, but perhaps LOVE is the only reason you need.

Say Happy Mother’s Day in a way that can really count. Make an appointment today for someone you love at Women’s Health of Chicago.

The Fight Against Breast Cancer: A New Milestone

The Fight Against Breast Cancer: A New Milestone

Last October, Tara Parker-Pope’s article in the New York Times “Well” Section highlighted a troubling milestone in the decades-long rise in breast cancer in African American Women.  In fact, incedence of breast cancer has been on a steady rise for the past quarter century due to a complex array of trends, both nationally, and in African American communities.

A Breast Cancer Milestone We Can Reverse!

Here’s an excerpt from Tara Parker-Pope, A Grim Breast Cancer Milestone for Black Women, New York Times, Well, October 29, 2015.

“It is a crisis,” said Marc Hurlbert, chief mission officer for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. “The increasing incidence is unfortunate because the mortality rate for black women is already so much higher, and now if more women are getting breast cancer, then unfortunately, the number of black women dying from the disease will go up.”

Over all, the report painted a grim picture of the state of breast cancer in African-American women, showing that advances in diagnosis and treatment that have sharply improved survival rates from breast cancer and saved countless lives have largely bypassed African-American women. By virtually every measure of the disease — age of diagnosis, age of death, stage of diagnosis — black women are at a significant disadvantage compared with white women, the data show.  (End excerpt.)

The Importance of Early Detection

Breast Cancer Milestone in the African American CommunityI’m particularly sensitive to this statistical milestone as a women’s health specialist fighting against this trend by empowering women to schedule annual mammograms with their physical exam. My message is simple: take early detection of breast cancer seriously.  My work in under-served communities brings me face to face with the real-life dynamics complicating even the simplest steps toward early detection. Yet, I’m hopeful that by keeping the message front and center, we might reverse this troubling trend and the higher rates of mortality that accompany it.

No matter your age, if it’s been longer than 12 months since your last mammogram, you should schedule your physical examination and mammogram as soon as possible.  There’s no better way to celebrate your birthday than to schedule your annual check-up and mammogram at around the same time.

(Excerpted and paraphrased from Tara Parker-Pope, A Grim Breast Cancer Milestone for Black Women, New York Times, Well, October 29, 2015.)

The reasons for the increase in breast cancer rates are complex and are thought to be driven largely by rising obesity rates among African-American women. Researchers also believe that changes in reproductive patterns may play a role, as more African-American women delay childbirth and have fewer children. Both are recognized risk factors for breast cancer.

Black women are given breast cancer diagnoses at younger ages and die from the disease at younger ages than white women, suggesting that the disease may exact a greater economic and family toll on blacks by stealing more of a woman’s most productive years. The median age at diagnosis is 58 for black women and 62 for white women. The median age for breast cancer death is 62 for black women and 68 for white women.

The data for the report was obtained from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program of the National Cancer Institute, a program that has been collecting information on cancer patients since 1973.

For more background on breast cancer trends in the African American community, read a previous article by Tara Parker-Pope, New York Times article.

For more information about the research behind this milestone, read her full article here.

Don’t put off scheduling your next annual physical and mammogram. At Women’s Health of Chicago, we can do both right here in the same office, often without having to schedule a separate appointment.  It could be a matter of life and death for our sisters and loved ones.  Spread the word!