It October again and its breast cancer awareness month. Don’t allow breast cancer creep into your life and defeat you. Cancer is a broad term for a class of diseases characterized by abnormal cells that grow and invade healthy cells in the body. Breast cancer starts in the cells of the breast as a group of cancer cells that can then invade surrounding tissues or spread (metastasize) to other areas of the body.
Breast cancer can’t be prevented, but some symptoms can be caught early just by being proactive about your breast health by performing breast self-examination at least once a month doing the following to help detect it earlier:
How A Breast Self-Exam Be Performed
In the Shower :Using the pads of your fingers, move around your entire breast in a circular pattern moving from the outside to the center, checking the entire breast and armpit area. Check both breasts each month feeling for any lump, thickening, or hardened knot. Notice any changes and get lumps evaluated by your healthcare provider.
In Front of a Mirror : Visually inspect your breasts with your arms at your sides. Next, raise your arms high overhead. Look for any changes in the contour, any swelling, or dimpling of the skin, or changes in the nipples. Next, rest your palms on your hips and press firmly to flex your chest muscles. Left and right breasts will not exactly match few women’s breasts do, so look for any dimpling, puckering, or changes, particularly on one side.
Lying Down: When lying down, the breast tissue spreads out evenly along the chest wall. Place a pillow under your right shoulder and your right arm behind your head. Using your left hand, move the pads of your fingers around your right breast gently in small circular motions covering the entire breast area and armpit. Use light, medium, and firm pressure. Squeeze the nipple; check for discharge and lumps. Repeat these steps for your left breast.
Know the Signs
The signs and symptoms associated with breast cancer can vary widely from person to person. For this reason, it’s important to make note of any changes and discuss them with a healthcare provider.
The American Cancer Society does list the following symptoms as the types of unusual changes that warrant a trip to the doctor:
- a nipple discharge other than breast milk
- a lump in the underarm area
- breast pain
- nipple pain or the nipple turning inward
- redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
- swelling of all or part of the breast
- skin irritation or dimpling
Many breast cancer symptoms are invisible and not noticeable without a professional screening, for this reason,mammography is the best way to examine as it can detect tumors before they can be felt, so screening is key for early detection.
If you find a lump, schedule an appointment with your doctor, but don’t panic; 8 out of 10 lumps are not cancerous but for additional peace of mind,visit the nearest mammography center whenever you have concerns.
DETECT IT ! TREAT IT! DEFEAT IT!