The Problem with Awareness – Annie’s Story

I talked to a friend of mine tonight. She had found a lump in her breast back in May, about the size of a marble.

In her words: “They want you to do self exams, and find your own lumps and find them EARLY. But once you do, they no longer care about you. I found a lump, called my doctor to set up an appointment. It took them 6 weeks to even get me in to see the doctor. And after my exam, he said ‘You have a lump’. (Uh yeah, that’s why I came to see you!!!!). Then it was 3 MORE weeks before I could even get a mammogram, then 2 more weeks to get a ultrasound-guided core needle biopsy, with 2 MORE weeks before results. Yes, this is a woman’s clinic, full of pink ribbons and early awareness and do-your-self-breast-exam crap. And yet, they made me wait SIX WEEKS to get seen about a lump I found ON MY OWN! Why is everyone so worried about making sure we check ourselves if the clinic makes me wait over three months, waiting and worrying about this marble in my breast. I’ve already got a history of cancer, don’t make me wait!!!”

I think this directly ties in to what I’ve been saying about AWARENESS for the past three years; the fact that women (and men) are finding their own lumps, before the recommended initial mammogram baseline of 40 or 50 (I was initially diagnosed a month after my 39th birthday) means that awareness has already been accomplished. We don’t need games on social media. We don’t need another 30 years of fundraising organizations.m,. We don’t need marketing campaigns full of pink ribbons on sodas, energy drinks, wine, perfume, NFL jerseys, drinking cups, yogurt, license plate frames from a car dealer, fracking drill bits (and I could go on for another 100 examples)!

What we need is all that money redirected, similar to Deangelo Williams who paid for 53 women’s mammograms. Redirected to increasing doctors or clinics to reduce wait times. Redirected to funding treatment. Redirected to research. Redirected to actually helping those being evaluated for breast cancer.

Back to my friend’s story. As if the three months of mental games weren’t bad enough, last week she got a bill for her diagnostic mammogram and biopsy. You see, because they DIDN’T find cancer, her insurance company has now denied coverage for the procedures. She must pay for a doctor’s visit, a diagnostic mammogram, an ultrasound-guided core needle biopsy and the pathology testing ON HER OWN.

Any wonder I want to run screaming this month?

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