Breast Cancer Awareness
Posted on October 15 2019
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Many of us take this time to show support of our peers who have been or are affected by the disease. We wear pink, conduct fundraisers, run marathons and participate in many other activities. However, the best thing we can do is educate ourselves by learning how to detect it early.
What is breast cancer? Breast cancer is a disease in which malignant cells form in the tissues of the breast.
In the United States, 1 in 8 women are affected in their lifetime! According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, female breast cancer represents 15.2% of all new cancer cases in the U.S., an estimated 268,600 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed by the end of 2019 and an estimated 41,760 women will die this year. Early detection is key to the best survival odds, as if breast cancer is detected early and in the localized stage, the 5 year relative survival rate is 100%.
Some early warning signs of breast cancer are:
-A change in the shape of the breast
-Changes in the appearance of one or both nipples
-An increase in the size of the breast
-Nodes or lumps felt on or inside the breast
-Redness, swelling or other skin changes on the breast
-Pain on any part of the breast
-Any discharge from the breast that isn’t breast milk
According to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, symptoms more specific to invasive breast cancer are:
-itchy or irritated breasts
-change in breast color
-increase in breast size or shape over a short period of time
-changes in touch (may feel hard, tender or warm)
-peeling or flaking of the nipple skin
-A breast lump or thickening
-Pitting or redness of the breast skin
As women, we should conduct breast self-exams once a month. Research shows that 40% of diagnosed breast cancers are because women felt a lump and had it looked at. Doing regular self-exams helps you to know your body and recognize any changes that may occur quickly.
The best way to conduct an exam is either in front of the mirror, laying down on the bed or in the shower. Womans.org has a breast self-exam guide that is extremely helpful in modeling how it should be done. Click here to view it and give yourself a self-exam.
A clinical exam can be conducted by your health care provider, as well as regularly scheduled mammograms. Mammograms can help detect breast cancer before a lump appears. It’s recommended to have this done once every 1 to 2 years.
As moms, we spend a lot of time taking care of others but lets be sure that we are also taking care of ourselves. Breast cancer cannot be prevented but we can take the necessary steps to detect it early, and give ourselves the best chance of survival.
Until next time Kuties!