Forty is the age when doctors begin recommending women get yearly mammograms and clinical breast exams. So for many ladies who haven't yet reached that age, checking for breast cancer may be far from their minds.
"I don't need to do the self exams because I am so young, or I don't have a family history. All of these are myths we really need to debunk."
Thirty-two-year-old Kelly Feinberg knows just how critical it is for women, especially young women, to pay more attention to the disease. She was only 29 when she was diagnosed with bi-lateral breast cancer.
"Without that self exam we would never have found that lump. And it's likely I wouldn't be standing here today because it was a stage two when we found it."
She's now part of the Greater Lansing affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. It's an organization that gives grants for things like research, education, screening, and treatment. According to registered nurse Marilyn Dobbs, the Barry-Eaton District Health Department received $2,000 to specifically help younger women.
"We were seeing women who were coming in that were under 40 and felt say a lump in their breast or they had some discharge and were uncertain and didn't have a means to pay for that screening."
The Barry-Eaton District Health Department is offering free diagnostic mammograms to women under 40 with breast problems. For more information call (517)541-2630 or if you live in the Lansing area, (517)485-7110 ext. 630. And a reminder, women 20-years or older should perform a breast self-exam once a month. For step by step instructions, log on to www.komen.org.