National Mammography Day

By: Tanya Kramer, LPC.

This day is celebrated on the third Friday in October every year, so this year it is celebrated on October 21st, 2022.  This day was first proclaimed by President Clinton in 1993.

On this day, along with throughout the month, women are encouraged to make a mammography appointment.

The American Cancer Society reported that early detection of breast cancer while the cancer is still localized results in a 5-year relative survival rate of 99%.

So along with mammograms, women should also perform a once-a-month breast self-exam.  Johns Hopkins Medical Center states, “Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, so establishing a regular breast self-exam is very important”.

Women can use the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc website to learn how to do a self-exam and what to expect at a mammography appointment:  

Breast cancer affects 1 in 8 women in the United States. Breast cancer can also affect men, but at much lower numbers.

In 2022, an estimated 287,500 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in the US.  An estimated 2,710 men will also be diagnosed with breast cancer.

There are over 3.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States, which is something to celebrate.  In the US, the trends show a gradual reduction in female breast cancer incidence among women aged 50 and older since 1990.

Some possible reasons for this decrease include a decline in prescriptive hormone replacement therapy after menopause, better screening and early detection, increased awareness, and continually improving treatment options.

It is important to recognize that there are disparities in care for breast cancer in the US (taken from the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. website).  

  • Breast cancer death rates are 40% higher among black women than white women
  • Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths for Latin women living in the US (2nd leading cause of cancer death in women in the US)
  • 47% of women put off or postponed preventive services due to costs
  • Poverty, less education, and lack of health insurance are associated with lower breast cancer survival rates
  • 49% of uninsured women delayed or went without care due to cost
  • 30% of uninsured women were up to date with breast cancer screening in 2018, compared to 64% of insured women

Breast Cancer affects women globally, and it is the most common cancer among women worldwide.  The World Health Organization acknowledges that breast cancer claims the lives of hundreds of thousands of women each year, affecting countries at all levels of modernization.  So having designated events to get the word out about the importance of getting a mammogram can save lives.  October 4-6, 2022, is also called “Pink Week” to bring awareness to breast cancer.  You can learn more about this week and other events throughout the month of October by checking out the Breast Cancer Resource Center website:

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Women’s Health Month

Women’s Health Month is observed throughout the month of May and is an awareness event that recognizes the different physical and mental concerns experienced by women and people who were assigned female at birth. From menopause to cervical cancer to childbirth, this is an important opportunity to raise awareness through educational campaigns with the goal being to empower people to prioritize their health.

Women’s health concerns can get discounted.  But 75% of new parents (especially moms) experience sleep deprivation, 23% of people that get their period need time off of work due to period-related issues, and menopause can cause significant symptoms for many women with the decreased estrogen levels also causing an increase in health risks.  Women can be a positive support to each other as they navigate these challenging health experiences.

During this month, we can also put our health and the health of women in our lives first. Whether we go in for a check-up or reach out to a friend in a time of need. 

For more resources, check out the links below:

Women’s Health Resources

Seven Facts To Know About Women’s Health | CDC

Featured Resources | National Women’s Health Network

WebMD Menopause Guide

Book: The Monopause Manifesto by Dr. Jen Gunter

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Celebrating Louis Braille on His Birthday

When we think about the past, we can honor those whose inventions have impacted the world we know today. One of those people is Louis Braille. As we approach January 4th, the birthday of Louis Braille, we can remember all that he did for those who are visually impaired.

He was a French educator and inventor of the reading and writing system known as Braille, which is used worldwide today to help those with limited vision. Louis himself lost vision in both of his eyes and developed a system of tactile code that could allow others to write and read. 

Now, the Braille system is still used in many different languages to aid those in their everyday lives. He paved the way for communication and equality with this system. 

With braille, he made sure that each letter had its own dots that could be recognized with the touch of a finger. Since its development, it’s completely changed the way we use language. 

We now have access to Braille on magazines, in books, on bathroom signs, bus stops, and elevator panels, to name a few. There even continues to be technological advances with braille as it becomes even more widespread. 

It’s important to look back and acknowledge all of the wonderful things that have allowed our society to become more accessible and equal to everyone.

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Walk Your Dog Month

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The month of January is Walk Your Dog Month, making it the perfect time to get moving in the new year.

Walking your dog often ensures that both of you are getting more fresh air and exercise. It’s a great daily activity to do with your beloved pet, and it allows for more bonding time.

You can also include the whole family to make it a fun outing that incorporates exercise and healthy behaviors for everyone.

When days get busy, it’s normal to want to relax, but even getting in a few minutes of walking time can make a difference for both you and your dog. 

Here are some benefits of and ideas for your walks: 

Motivation And Health

Furry friends require exercise to live their happiest lives. Taking your dog out for a walk can be a great way to combat anxiety, keep their joints active, and help them stay healthy.

But the health benefits don’t stop with your pets. Joining them on walks can also help increase your activity and give you some daily cardio. Exercise also has a positive impact on our mental health. It can reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, and can improve your mood and cognitive function. Exercise has also been found to alleviate symptoms such as low self-esteem and social withdrawal. And walking with your dog can help you interact with others as many people love to stop and pet your dog and chat with you.

New Locations

You can incorporate some fun into your walks by trying out new routes. A predictable route can get tiresome, especially if you walk down the same path every single day. 

Having a change of scenery can be fun for your dog and for you. Do a different route each day, try walking through the park, walk to a friend’s house, walk on the trails, or try walking to the dog park and back. It’s okay to switch it up. You might even meet new friends and find new adventures along the way.

Prepare For Weather

The cold winter weather doesn’t have to slow down your walks. You can be ready for any weather with the right gear.  A raincoat and rainboots or a winter coat and hat can help you stay comfortable despite the conditions.  You can take more frequent, but shorter walks when the weather is especially nasty.  Or make it fun by embracing the weather–splash in puddles with your pup or run around in the snow and throw snowballs for your dog to chase.

You can also make sure your pets are in proper attire. If your dog has short hair, you can consider putting a coat or sweater on them to keep them cozy. Boots also help protect their paws from ice, snow, or slush they might step in.

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How to Get Your Sleep Back on Track

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Are you tired of lying awake in bed all hours of the night? Are you ready to finally get your sleep on track? If so, keep on reading.

Track Your Sleep

You have some homework to do before officially getting started.

You’ve got to start tracking your sleep.

Even though you may not realize this, not all nights are the same. Chances are some nights are better than others.

But if you aren’t keeping track, you’ll never know for sure.

Do you sleep better on weekends versus weekdays?

Is it easier to fall and stay asleep in a cooler room?

After a week or two, you should start noticing patterns.

Love Your Bed

You have the power to train your brain to love your bed. You just need to learn the right skills.

A very popular tip is to reserve your bed for sleeping and only sleeping.

We get it. A lot of people like working or watching TV in bed. But doing so can make it harder to fall asleep.

The main goal is to teach your brain to associate going to bed with sleeping.

Manage Your Worries

Have you ever had one of those nights where all you can do is lie in bed and worry about the next day?

Falling asleep should be relaxing – not stressful.

Of course, it isn’t always easy to turn off our thoughts. But there are plenty of techniques that can calm them down.

Try your best to focus on the present moment. The here and the now are all that matter.

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