If you are 40 years old, female and have never gotten a mammogram, stop what you're doing right now. Pick up the phone, call your doctor and make an appointment.
If you're the husband of a 40-year-old women and don't know whether your wife has ever gotten a mammogram, stop what you're doing and ask her. The same goes for fathers and sons.
The bottom line is this: In 2009, one of the best ways to combat breast cancer is to find it first. And that means early detection. The science is there to discover these types of cancer cells, and the science is there to then work to defeat them. But in this battle, you have to be pre-emptive and make the first move.
For years, Hadassah has led a campaign to encourage breast self-exams and learn about our bodies from the outside in. The organization suggests this knowing that women from Ashkenazi Jewish backgrounds are more likely to carry the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes related to hereditary breast cancer.
October is not just Breast Cancer Awareness Month; it's also National Fire Prevention Month. Most parents probably know more about how to stop, drop and roll — and refresh household fire alarms — than they do about caring for their own bodies.
It's time to change that. Understanding cancer, as the special section in this week's Exponent shows, can lead to healthier families. So buckle down, and recharge those respective batteries.