If you or a loved one turns 40 in the coming months, celebrate! Buy yourself (or her) a birthday cupcake and put a pink candle on top—and then give her a card with an extra, and special, message—that it’s time for her first annual mammogram!
Take a friend
Yes, age 40 remains the correct birthday year to begin annual mammography screenings. Go with her to the imaging center. Make it a “girls’ day out”—mammo in the morning, followed by lunch!
And if she has a family history of a first-degree relative who was diagnosed under the age of 50, then take that relative’s age at time of diagnosis (for example, age 48) and subtract 10 from it. This will be the age your friend should actually be beginning mammographic screening..
Tell her not panic if she gets a call back. Remind her that this is a baseline mammogram, meaning there is nothing to compare it to since this her first one! And anyway, most call backs result in everything being fine.
Stress that it’s important
If she says she doesn’t have time for a mammogram, remind her of her family obligations—if she were to go missing at some future date due to not having gotten her annual cancer screening, then who will fill her shoes (and her bra)?
Just as a first menstrual period signifies in an official way the arrival of puberty and the beginning of a young woman’s pathway to womanhood, so too is one’s first screening mammogram at age 40 a significant rite of passage.