In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Waste Management (WM) went beyond pink carts and trucks by issuing an important message to its employees regarding the disease. Written by Carole Grimard, WM’s health promotions manager, the note discusses employee health statistics related to breast cancer; promotes screening, awareness and a healthy lifestyle; and provides resources for more information.
Your mother, sister, aunt, friend, friend-of-a-friend—seems like we all know someone affected by breast cancer. And if we don’t know someone, we’re doing something to support the cause, like wearing pink, saving and mailing in our yogurt labels, joining a fundraiser, running a marathon or joining in a walk.
Excluding skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common form of the disease in women regardless of race or ethnicity. Screening remains the primary detection, which means checking for cancer. This means checking for cancer before signs or symptoms appear. To do this, mammograms continue to be the best method. Other screening options include a self-exam, which should be done periodically, as well as an exam by a doctor or nurse.
At WM, only 40 percent of women over the age of 40 have had a mammogram in the past year. Although this rate has remained steady for several years, it’s still low when considering that mammograms are 100 percent covered by WM’s health benefits. To ensure you receive your mammogram at regular intervals, pick a birthday or date that’s easy to remember, or schedule your appointment for the next year as you’re leaving your current appointment.
You can even have a reminder email sent to you by visiting the American Cancer Society website.
For women under 40, keep in mind that you are becoming increasingly susceptible to breast cancer. First, young women don’t believe it’s something they should have to worry about. However, you should be familiar with the medical history of women in your family and share it with your doctor. Having regular clinical exams, as well as self-exams, is also important.
If there is anything abnormal, report it to your doctor immediately. Lastly, a healthy lifestyle will help reduce a young woman’s risk of breast cancer. Eating a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking and regular exercise all help. In addition, studies indicate that young women who breastfeed may also reduce their risks.
If you’re interested in staying fit, WM has a walking program to encourage regular physical activity. Contact me for further details. Deciding which screening test is best for you can be confusing. For that, talk to your doctor or a Get Well Guide at 1-800-862-3558 for advice.
October is not just about remembering the friends and relatives who experienced this disease. It’s also about doing your part to prevent its effect on your life. Take advantage of our benefits and schedule a mammogram today.
Health Promotions Manager for WM