According to the National Cancer Institute, 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. That’s why the importance of being informed, whether if it’s information for you, to help a loved one or support a community, being informed about this important matter could be life changing.
At CYSM we are full supporters of women’s empowerment, self-care, and health. October is well known as the pink month, where there’s a global effort to raise awareness on breast cancer, and of course, we join this matter on raising awareness.
It’s important to highlight that 90% of early-stage breast cancers are curable, often with treatments that conserve the breast. Doctors urged patients and women in general to self-examine themselves once a month for any early signs, to visit their doctor regularly, and to get mammography periodically.
THE IMPORTANCE OF EARLY DETECTION
Early detection means finding cancer before it spreads to other parts of the body. Although breast cancer cannot be completely prevented, early detection provides the greatest possibility of successful treatment.
With early detection and treatment, you can greatly improve your chance of survival, here we explain the tree preventive ways to stay healthier:
Age to start examination: 18+
Breast self-awareness can help women become familiar with how your breasts normally look and feel.
If you find a lump, schedule an appointment with your doctor, it’s important to keep calm and do not panic. 8 out of 10 lumps are not cancerous, so before running to conclusions, wait for the opinion of a professional
WELL WOMAN EXAM
Age to start examination: 21+
A well-woman exam is one of the most important steps that women of all ages can take to protect their health. This is an annual preventive screening of breast and gynecological abnormalities.
The well-woman exam is a great opportunity for you to discuss with your doctor any questions or concerns you might have regarding your breast health.
- If you are 40 + it’s recommended to be performed once a year.
- If you are 20+ it’s recommended to be performed every 3 years.
A mammogram is an X-ray picture of the breast. Doctors use a mammogram to look for early signs of breast cancer. Regular mammograms are the best tests doctors have to find breast cancer early, sometimes up to three years before it can be felt.
A mammogram takes only a few moments, though, and the discomfort is over soon.
40% of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump while self-examination, so establishing a regular breast self-exam as a self-care routine is very important. Keep reading...
HOW SHOULD A BREAST SELF-EXAM BE PERFORMED?
Step 1: 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.
Step 2: In front of The 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.
Step 3: 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.
Make it a routine
The more you examine your breasts, the more you will learn about them, and the easier it will become for you to tell if something has changed. Try to get in the habit of doing a breast self-examination once a month to familiarize yourself with how your breasts normally look and feel. Examine yourself several days after your period ends, when your breasts are least likely to be swollen and tender. If you are no longer having periods, choose a day that’s easy to remember, such as the first or last day of the month.
KEEP A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
While some factors are beyond our control, experts say these healthy lifestyle habits are scientifically proven to lower our breast cancer risk.
- Maintain a Healthy Weight
- Limit alcohol intake
- Exercise regularly
- Do not smoke
- Practice a healthy diet
- Get enough sleep
Many breast cancer symptoms are invisible and not noticeable without a professional screening, but some symptoms can be caught early just by being proactive about your breast health. Take in practice the early checkouts we’ve mentioned.
And remember, the prevention of the disease will always be a healthy lifestyle, investing your time and money on your health will always be a priority for a long and healthy life. Let’s raise awareness and encourage action on breast cancer, not only in October but every month of the year.
If you are interested on knowing more on breast cancer awareness, our sisters in the FIT&FAB Blog have more information you might find useful, click here to read ther Breast Cancer Awareness Article.