Check Yourself

People are rocking pink and walking to raise money for breast cancer awareness this month. It’s a great time to donate and spread awareness for the cause, but are you aware of the early signs of breast cancer or how you can detect it?
The sooner breast cancer is detected, the lower the chance of it spreading. Regular checks, by yourself and by a doctor, are extremely important to find any abnormalities or changes in your breasts. Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump. Here are three ways to detect cancer early.
  1. Breast self-awareness. You should give yourself an examination at least once a month. Look for any changes in appearance and feel, including any lumps or thickening near the breast or underarm area, a change in shape or size, swollen skin or discharge. If you find any of these, make an appointment with your doctor. Don’t panic – most lumps are not cancer, but getting any changes checked out is vital.
  2. Well-woman exam. It’s recommended that you visit your doctor for a Well-Woman exam every year. Think of it as your annual check-up. In addition to the routine exam, your doctor will examine your breasts for any abnormalities. Take this time to ask any questions about what to look for, how to self-examine and more.
  3. Mammograms. Breast cancer usually doesn’t cause symptoms in early stages, which is why mammograms are so important. A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast that detects tumors and other abnormal conditions. Women who get them have a lower chance of dying from breast cancer. A mammogram can detect cancer before a lump becomes large enough to be felt by touch, and can find cancer in its early stages when treatment is usually the most effective. Women 40 and older should get a mammogram every year.
This October, start a routine to keep yourself healthy. Early detection could save your life.