Breast Cancer Awareness Month

A note every woman should read for WM’s health promotions manager

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.

Carole Grimard
Health Promotions Manager for WM