It could be the most important question you ask

The thing about women is that we stick together.

When you find a good recipe, you want to tell your friends. When you want to eat better or exercise more, you enlist your friends to help you stay on track. When you want to run a 5K, you drag your friends along. And when you hear that a friend has a problem, you rush to her side.

Women understand that our friendships get us through the tough times and help us appreciate the good ones, so we hang on to, support, encourage and inspire each other.

There is something important that you can do for your friend that probably hasn’t crossed your mind – ask this question: Have you gotten a mammogram?  It’s a simple question, but not necessarily an easy one to ask. It can feel too personal, too invasive. But it’s too important to ignore.

In asking this question, you open the conversation. Many of us are just waiting for a word of encouragement. We know we should get the screening test done, but we just put it off, and no one asks, and the days slip by.

But it matters. Getting screened is the key to catching cancer early. Unless you are in a high risk category, you should get a mammogram once a year starting at age 40. The goal is to find cancer before it has started to cause symptoms, when it’s likely to be small and still confined to the breast and more treatable.

How important is this? Next to skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common among women. There has been a decline in the rate of deaths from breast cancer, but it is still second only to lung cancer as the leading cause of cancer death in women. Early detection significantly improves the chance for successful treatment.

So ask a friend. Better yet, bring her with you.

Don’t let the days slip by.

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