Paula shares advice for women who fear annual cancer screenings.
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I understand it. I have never had a mammogram where I don’t go in tremendous fear. I never sleep the night before my mammogram. I never sleep the night before my breast MRI. It’s a scary thing, particularly when you have a history of it in your family. I watched my mother fight cancer over a 20-year period. Two separate battles13 years apart. And even though certain types of cancers don’t necessarily predispose you to the kind of cancer that a parent might have, it’s a scary thing. So I think that we have to understand, yeah, you can get bad news, but guess what? So many early cancers can be cured today to allow yourself to be frozen with fear and not going in and have a mammogram is inexcusable, and there are places all over the country now that are finding a way to make—take some of the fear and intimidation out of the process. It’s not a comfortable test. I hate the test, and the worst 15 minutes of the 15 minutes you’re waiting for the results. And then sometimes, I know in my case, you’re repeating the test the same day, and you’re thinking, “Oh my God, what have they found?” And it turns out that it might be an issue of the technician or whatever has happened, but we have to be disciplined enough to know that a mammogram and all early cancer screening can save your life. A bone density exam can save your life. When you look at the number of women in this country that are falling and having hip fractures in their 70s, we know the outcomes aren’t good. One out of four of those women will probably die within a year as a result of their falls. So, I know that not everyone in America has good healthcare and they don’t have access to tests necessarily that are covered under any healthcare plan, but we also know we’ve made great strides in the treatment of cancer and in curing cancers and in preventing osteoporosis. We’ve got to find a way to encourage people, yeah, to understand the test can be scary, but the consequences of not taking the tests are far more terrifying than getting the test done with, and getting the results.
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