By Lori Perkins
Image Taken from Amy Klobuchar's Medium Essay
I woke up this morning to a statement on Medium by Senator Amy Klobuchar informing us that she had been diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer on her right side during the pandemic, had a lumpectomy and undergone radiation treatment and was now cancer free. It was like I was reading my own writing, except I’m not a US Senator, and I had Stage 3 cancer with lymph node removal, as well as a full round of chemo, but I, too, am cancer-free now.
Like Sen. Klobuchar, I, too, put off getting my annual mammogram when we were all locked down. Thankfully I only waited a few months, but I too had the dreaded white spots that lead to a biopsy and diagnosis.
All I can say is that no matter how busy you are and/or how frightened you are about seeing a doctor during a pandemic, DO NOT put your mammogram off. The earlier they can catch this, the better your chances of survival are.
I know this because I also read that Sarah Harding, a member of the British pop girl band Girls Aloud, died from breast cancer this past Sunday after a diagnosis in August 2020. Mine was July 2020, but I am thankfully still here.
Self-exams are great but breast cancer often can’t be found that way and today’s enhanced mammogram machines can find things early. If your insurance will pay for it, get it starting at 30 (if not, see if you can get one at one of these free testing sites, especially if it runs in your family). Sarah Harding died at 39, when 40 is supposed to be the beginning age for testing. And don’t listen to any male doctors (my own GP) who tall you to go every other year. Do it every year!
If you can, make a ritual out of it with your friends. Before the pandemic, when mammograms used to be much more painful, I used to go and then took myself out for a fancy French meal as a reward. Now, I have “pink sisters” (and a “pink brother” too—men can develop breast cancer and often die from it because they don’t even think it can happen to them), and we arrange our appointments for the same day and then go to a museum and a lunch together.
Here’s Klobuchar’s full statement: https://medium.com/@Amy_Klobuchar/statement-from-senator-amy-klobuchar-975260e9de8