Touch Those Boobs for Healthy Breasts
Did You Know Breast Cancer is the Most Common Cancer in Women?
The key to successful prevention is early treatment. By giving yourself a breast exam each month, you will notice if there are any changes in your breasts. Experts recommend that women should start doing a breast self-examination (BSE) from the age of 20.
Women should give themselves a BSE at the same time every month:
- Menstruating women should wait until menstruating is over, so the breasts are less tender.
- Postmenopausal women simply need to perfrom the exam at same time each month.
Many breasts do have different kinds of "lumpy" or bumpy areas, so if a woman becomes familiar with these areas, she will become more aware when there is an unusual lumpy or bumpy area.
If you feel something unusual (even if you have only just begun giving yourself breast self exams), consult your doctor. When I first started performing monthly BSE's, I felt a lump in one of my breasts that convinced me I had a cancerous lump. It took me an entire year before I brought it up at my annual exam because I was scared. Unfortunately, if it had been cancerous, I would have wasted precious time. It turned out, fortunately, to be fibrous breast tissue. I learned what feels normal in my breasts, and no longer feel afraid to bring up any issues with my doctor.
Remember that not all tumors are cancerous. Most lumps found on breasts (80% of those biopsied) are non-cancerous.
A change in your breast does not necessarily mean cancer
Breast self-exams can help find cancerous lumps when they are still small enough to effectively treat. However, it is important to remember that self-exams alone won't be effective if you don't also consult with your physician and receive yearly clinical exams. Not all tumors can be detected in a BSE, but many can.
The more you touch those boobs, the more familiar you are with them. This means you will be more aware when there are unusual changes.
Breast cancer awareness begins with you.
What are the basic breast health steps?
- Mammograms every year starting at age 40.
- Women under 40 with a family history of breast cancer or other concerns should talk with a health care provider. Screening tests may be needed more often and/or started earlier.
- Clinical breast exams by a health care provider at least every 3 years starting at age 20, and every year after 40.
- Breast self-exams every month starting by age 20.
Learn More About BSE's & Breast Cancer
- Breast self-exams: One way to detect breast cancer - MayoClinic.com
Breast self-exams — with clinical breast exams and mammography — may help you detect breast cancer.