Why You Shouldn’t Neglect Your Mammogram

mammogramWhile healthcare agencies and government entities may disagree about when to start having mammograms and how frequently to schedule them, one thing is clear: mammograms are the best way to screen for early breast cancer. You don’t want to neglect your mammogram, and here are a few reasons why.

You’ll have peace of mind.

When you’ve had a mammogram, you know you’re doing all you can to detect breast cancer early and get it treated. You won’t have that nagging question in your head about whether your monthly self-checks are doing the job.

Mammograms are the best way to protect yourself.

Regular mammograms are your best defense against cancer, and if you do have it at some point, you can treat it as early as possible. According to the National Cancer Institute, when breast cancer is detected early, the five-year survival rate is 98%. Mammograms can detect breast cancer years before you can feel the lump, so it’s the best early-detection instrument available.

Insurance covers it.

Most insurance covers mammograms for women over 40 or younger women who have high risk for breast cancer. If you have first-degree relatives (mother or sister) who had breast cancer at a young age, start having mammograms a decade earlier than the youngest age of diagnosis. For example, if your sister was diagnosed at 42, start having mammograms at 32.

It only takes a few moments.

Yes, the machine will press on your breasts, and yes, it can be uncomfortable. But it only takes a few moments, and then you’re good to go for a year. To reduce discomfort, try not to schedule the mammogram near your period if you tend to have tender breasts at that time.

If you’re over 40 and haven’t had a baseline mammogram, or you haven’t had one in a few years, it’s time to schedule one. Call your doctor today.


“Get Your Squeeze On!” How One Woman Is Spreading Awareness about Mammograms

When we heard that our former patient, Lee McCracken was launching her own line of tees to help raise money and spread the word for breast cancer awareness, we were thrilled!

We interviewed Lee on her new endeavor with her fabulous “Yes, Ma’am! mammograms are a must” tees and also discovered a little bit about her journey through breast cancer and life after cancer.

Read this inspirational interview below (NOTE: all images in this post were provided by and are owned by Lee McCracken):

1. You started the “Yes, Ma’am! mammograms are a must” tees. Tell us a little about this unique tee and what inspired you to create it? Where do funds go for those who purchase the tee?

I admit it—I NEVER liked getting a mammogram. But then I discovered I disliked breast cancer even more! I’m a two-year survivor and a former patient of The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction. This year, my girlfriends and I decided to be a little more organized for the Komen Race for the Cure in our home city of Charlotte, NC. We needed a name and a T-shirt.

So, I began brainstorming.

I tried to think of a fun phrase that was upbeat and also inspirational. “Yes, Ma’am! mammograms are a must” popped into my head one day in May. Of course, the apostrophe in ma’am is the pink ribbon! My girlfriends encouraged me to merchandise the tee on a local, regional—and, dare I say, national—level.

The face of the under-insured and uninsured woman has changed. Given this economic climate, many women, naturally, are putting their children first before seeing to their own healthcare needs. I want to help fund mammograms for women who don’t have health insurance. Locally, 15% (or $3 of every $20 tee sold) is going to the Carolinas Breast Cancer Fund to help women who are qualified by the Mecklenburg County Health Department.

Individuals, groups, and retail outlets who sell the tee in other cities may designate a charity in their community to receive the funds. Anyone interested should connect with me via e-mail: sales@yesmaamtee.com.

yes maam tees

2. What do you hope to accomplish through selling the “Yes, Ma’am!” tee? In other words, what is your vision for the future of the tee and its effect on women?

Wouldn’t it be fun if women all over started wearing their “Yes, Ma’am! mammograms are a must” tees to the coffee house, grocery store, and gym? It makes a sassy statement in Southern style, and people take notice. I’ve seen women look at my tee and then kind of shake their head, almost to say, “Oh yeah, I need to schedule that.”

The Facebook page is generating interest from all over the country. The tee has fans from California to Oklahoma and Florida to Vermont.

A cancer nurse once told me that when breast cancer is caught in Stages 0-1, treatment can be so much easier and survival rates soar. Let’s strive for 100% early detection!

3. What inspired you to start your own freelance writing / editing business, Joyfullee Written, at the age of 49 and what do you provide others with through this business?

I’ve been writing and editing for more than 25 years, sometimes as a freelancer and other times on staff with a local lifestyle or parenting magazine. The formal launch this summer of Joyfullee Written was my birthday gift to myself. I will turn 50 in October and, not only have I survived breast cancer, but I have also survived several other heartbreaking losses. I’m also working on a book—an inspirational memoir about self-discovery and spiritual preservation through motherhood and menopause. Joyfullee Written comes from the fact that all my inspiration and strength spills from the fountain of God’s grace.

Joyfullee Written provides professional writing / editing services to magazines and businesses. I enjoy meeting people and helping them reach their audience through a well-crafted, targeted message. And, with a passion for lifelong learning, this is helping me to keep discovering new things every day.

4. What is the one thing you want all women to know about breast cancer?

The earlier it’s detected the more treatment options women have! I HATE when I hear someone say “I’m a year overdue for my mammogram.” My Stage 1 breast cancer was caught by a mammogram, and I was fortunate not to have to endure chemo or radiation. I know everyone is busy and mammos sometimes are uncomfortable, but it’s crazy to take such a risk.

All my family members and friends know: Get Your Squeeze On!

lee mccrackenAbout Lee McCracken:

Lee McCracken lives with her husband, Stuart, of 28 years in Denver, N.C., a suburb of Charlotte. She has a 19-year-old daughter, Megan, and a 10-year-old Bichon Frise, Benny. She enjoys gardening, photography, reading and traveling. Lee’s girlfriends keep her sane!

Love the Yes, Ma,am! mammograms are a must tees? Buy one today and help spread awareness for mammograms!