Breast Cancer and Breast Health – Take Action Now to Avoid Being a Statistic
For fifteen years I have worked as a professional educator. For 5 of those years I have worked in a healthcare organization. One of the most talked about topics is breast cancer and breast health. The bottom line is that although breast cancer is not preventable, it is usually easily detectable.
Note: Breast cancer is not race specific – all races get breast cancer!
Note: Breast cancer is not gender specific – men get breast cancer too!
When breast cancer is caught in the early stages the chances of survival are very high. Please don’t add yourself or a friend or loved one to the growing list of statistics. Take action today! Here is a simple three part action step plan to help you with the early detection of breast cancer.
Part One: Regular Mammograms
Ladies, this is the most important part of maintaining good breast health: regular mammograms. Mammograms are fast, simple x-rays similar to the x-rays you get at a dentist’s office visit. In fact, mammograms actually use less radiation than a dental x-ray!
Mammograms put you light years ahead when it comes to cancer treatment because they can detect breast lumps long before you or your doctor could physically feel a breast lump. Because early detection is a key to survival, you need to put regular mammograms on your schedule.
The American Cancer Society recommends regular mammograms for all women starting at age 40. If you have a family history of breast cancer, your physician may want you to start a regular mammogram schedule much earlier.
The older you get, the higher your chances of breast cancer. Over 75% of all breast cancers occur in women who are 50 or older. Over 50% of all breast cancers occur in women who are 65 or older.
Ladies – listen to me! Get a regular mammogram! Please! For the sake of your friends and family who love you so much, schedule a yearly mammogram if you are 40 or older or have a family history of breast cancer.
Part Two: Clinical Breast Exam
Only your physician or nurse will do a clinical breast exam for you. All women in their 20’s and 30’s should have a clinical breast exam as part of their annual health checkups at least every 3 years. After the age of 40, this should be done every year without fail.
What Will Happen In A Clinical Breast Exam?
The physician or nurse will take your personal health history by asking you a series of health history questions. This will include asking about family history. Next the physician or nurse will look at your breasts while you stand in front of a mirror with your hands on your hips. Finally the physician or nurse will physically exam your entire breast up to the neck, in your armpit, the center of your chest and to the bottom of your rib cage. Finally they will discuss proper breast health with you as well as show you how to perform breast self-exams. The entire process can take up to 10 minutes. It should rarely be under 5 minutes.
Part Three: Breast Self-Exams
You need to become familiar with how your breasts look and feel regularly so that you are aware of any changes from normal. If you notice changes, report these to your physician immediately.
One of the most important steps you can take is to do monthly breast self-exams. An easy way to remember to do this is to check while you take a shower. Some organizations even have a shower card you can hang from your shower head with punch out holes for each month, so you can easily track when you have done your exams.
Remember that you need to physically exam your breasts by hand as well as look in the mirror for any visible changes. If you think you’ve found a lump or noticeable change, notify your doctor immediately.
Most breast lumps are NOT cancer, but you won’t know until you ask and have it checked out.
Take Action Now!
Begin your regular breast health plan today which includes regular mammograms, clinical breast exams and monthly self-exams. When breast cancer is caught in the early stages survival rates are greatest. Take action now – for yourself, for your friends and family who love you so much!