October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month #feelitonthefirst

Breast cancer was once believed to be an older woman's disease, but over the year's it has been found in women of all ages and even men. It is important to self check often and to know what the signs are.

The National Breast Cancer Foundation Inc shares the following information to detect the symptoms and signs of breast cancer.

A change in how the breast or nipple feels

  • Nipple tenderness or a lump in or near the breast or underarm area
  • A change in the skin texture or an enlargement of pores in the skin of the breast
  • A lump in the breast (It’s important to remember that all lumps should be investigated by a healthcare professional, but not all lumps are cancerous.)

A self breast examination should be done to see if there are any changes. It is a good idea to make it a habit to do these steps on the first of the month.

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. Notice any changes and get lumps evaluated by your healthcare provider.

2) 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. Other things to look for include:

  • Any unexplained change in the size or shape of the breast
  • Unexplained shrinkage of the breast (especially if on one side only)
  • Recent asymmetry of the breasts (Although it is common for women to have one breast that is slightly larger than the other, if the onset of asymmetry is recent, it should be checked.)
  • Nipple that is turned slightly inward or inverted
  • Skin of the breast, areola, or nipple that becomes scaly, red, or swollen or may have ridges or pitting resembling the skin of an orange

Any nipple discharge—particularly clear discharge or bloody discharge

It is also important to note that a milky discharge that is present when a woman is not breastfeeding should be checked by her doctor, although it is not linked with breast cancer.

If you notice any of the above changes or signs there are a number of different of medical exams you can have done to diagnose if the symptoms you have are actually breast cancer.

Clinical Exam - Visit your doctor to have a breast exam done. They will check for lumps or physical changes. If they feel the symptoms are a sign of breast cancer they may book you for a mammogram or ultrasound.

Mammogram - A mammogram is an x-ray of the breast. While screening mammograms are routinely administered to detect breast cancer in women who have no apparent symptoms, diagnostic mammograms are used after suspicious results on a screening mammogram or after some signs of breast cancer alert the physician to check the tissue.

Ultrasound - When a suspicious site is detected in your breast through a breast self-exam or on a screening mammogram, your doctor may request an ultrasound of the breast tissue. A breast ultrasound is a scan that uses penetrating sound waves that do not affect or damage the tissue and cannot be heard by humans. The breast tissue deflects these waves causing echoes, which a computer uses to paint a picture of what’s going on inside the breast tissue. A mass filled with liquid shows up differently than a solid mass.

Thermography - Breast Thermography is applicable to all women, especially the group between 40 and 50, and for those who have dense, fibrocystic breasts or implants. It is a completely safe, non-invasive screening method that has been proven to be effective. An abnormal infrared image is the single-most important marker of high risk for developing breast disease.

Join the movement. Snap a selfie of you feeling your breast. Post it on IG, FB or TW using the hashtag #feelitonthefirst. Nominate 3 of your girls to do the same!

 

Information for ths blog was taken from the National Breast Cancer Foundation

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