As you probably already know (or should know), October is, “Breast Cancer Awareness Month.” Many of us have been affected, in one way or another, by this terrible disease. My aunt, whom I love dearly, is undergoing chemo right now, for breast cancer. Thankfully, she detected her lump early via a routine breast self exam. She had gotten her yearly mammogram 6 moths prior to being diagnosed and, at that time, no signs of cancer were evident. When she discovered the lump, her next mammogram wasn’t for another 6 months. The cancer was already at stage 3. Do your exam monthly, ladies. My aunt’s oncologist is very optimistic about her response to the chemo and so are we. Thank goodness she discovered the lump when she did!
Self breast exams are vital to early detection. Johns Hopkins Medical center states,
“Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, so establishing a regular breast self-exam is very important.”
These exams should be done at least once a month. Not sure how to do a self breast exam? Here is a great infographic from BrightPink.org
You can’t stop at just a self breast exam, however. You need to get routine mammograms, as well. Women 40 and older should have mammograms done every 1 or 2 years. Women who are younger than 40 and have risk factors for breast cancer should ask their healthcare professional whether mammograms are advisable, and how often to have them.
“Mammography can detect tumors before they can be felt, so screening is key for early detection. When combined with regular medical care and appropriate guideline-recommended mammography, breast self-exams can help women know what is normal for them so they can report any changes to their healthcare provider.” -The National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc.
If you feel a lump in your breast or nipple, notice a change in the skin or pores of your breast, you begin to experience swelling, breast pain, or breast asymmetry, or if you notice nipple discharge please call your healthcare provider immediately. According to The National Cancer Institute,
“When breast cancer is detected early, in the localized stage, the 5-year survival rate is 98%”
Do your self exams, schedule your mammograms, and know your boobs. We got this, ladies.
We got this.
First image from here.
Second image from here.
third image from here.