Watch Jennifer Garner Take You Inside Her Mammogram Appointment for Breast Cancer Awareness
"I know it's scary, sisters, but just do it," she says.
"Every October I have a standing date for a mammogram," she wrote alongside the video. "For me, having the appointment on the books makes it routine, like the dentist. I know it's scary, sisters, but just do it—the next best thing to an all-clear is early detection." (Related: 11 Signs of Breast Cancer Every Woman Should Know About)
In the video, the 47-year-old mom of three takes her followers inside her doctor's office where she undergoes a mammogram while keeping things as fun and lighthearted as possible.
She starts by changing into a stereotypical blue hospital gown and jokingly creates cartoons of boobs on a paper chart while waiting for her doc to call her in. While undergoing the actual exam, she doesn't entirely hide her discomfort but reassures viewers that mammograms really aren't as bad as they may seem. Then while waiting for the results, Garner continues to lighten the mood by blowing balloon animals out of plastic gloves before her doctor comes in. "Okay, your mammogram looks perfect," he says, and they both give a thumbs-up to the camera. (Related: This Viral Photo of Lemons Is Helping Women Detect Breast Cancer)
Garner continued her post with a heartfelt message to women who are currently battling breast cancer: "To everyone in the thick of the battle—respect and love and strength to you."
While mammograms are no one's idea of a good time, they are necessary. Along with self-exams and regular check-ups, mammograms are key to catching breast cancer in the early, more treatable stages, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI). (Related: Why Every Woman Should Know Her Breast Density)
Still, despite mammograms being an available preventative resource, nearly 268,600 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year and more than 41,000 will die of the disease, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). These numbers are so high because not everyone who should be getting mammograms is actually getting them: In 2015, about 30 percent of women between the ages of 50 and 74 didn't get a mammogram during the previous two years, according to an NCI report. Why? Because things like cost, time, and discomfort continue to act as deterrents—not to mention there's still a lack of awareness when it comes to the importance of mammograms. (Refresher: Women with an average breast cancer risk should consider mammograms starting at age 40, and all women should be getting screened starting no later than age 50, per the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' guidelines.)
As Garner said, it might feel scary walking into that appointment, but you'll be glad you did by the time it's done.