It is estimated that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. As Breast Cancer Awareness month, October acts as an important reminder to have an early detection plan and encourage others to do the same.
The Susan G. Komen organization teaches the following messages for breast self-awareness:
1. Know your risk.
- Talk to both sides of your family to learn about your family health history
- Talk to your health care provider about your personal risk of breast cancer
2. Get screened.
- Talk with your health care provider about which screening tests are right for you if you are at a higher risk
- Have a mammogram every year starting at age 40 if you are at average risk
- Have a clinical breast exam at least every three years starting at age 20, and every hear starting at age 40
- Sign up for your screening reminder at komen.org/reminder
3. Know what is normal for you and see your health care provider if you notice any of these breast changes:
- Lump, hard knot or thickening inside the breast or underarm area
- Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening of the breast
- Change in the size or shape of the breast
- Dimpling or puckering of the skin
- Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
- Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast
- Nipple discharge that starts suddenly
- New pain in one spot that doesn’t go away
4. Make healthy life choices.
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Add exercise to your routine
- Limit alcohol intake
- Limit menopausal hormone therapy (postmenopausal hormone use)
- Breastfeed, if you can