Breast-Self Awareness Saves Lives – Breast Cancer Awareness Month
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Did you know that after skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in cis women? Over 240,000 people are diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S.m and 40,000 people die from the disease annually. However, you can protect yourself and catch it early – both through routine screening mammograms and breast self-awareness!
What is breast self-awareness?
Breast self-awareness involves considering your family history of breast or ovarian cancer and communicating any concerns openly and honestly with your doctor. A family history of these types of cancer could mean you are more likely to develop breast cancer in the future, so it is crucial for your doctor to know. Breast self-awareness also means becoming familiar with the look and feel of your breasts so you can alert your doctor in the event of any changes. While breast self-awareness and routine screenings don’t prevent disease, they can help catch it early and treat it!
How do I practice breast self-awareness?
The key to breast self-awareness is knowing how your breasts normally look and feel. This helps you notice changes and identify any concerns you may have with your doctor as soon as possible. We recommend performing a self-exam to get to know how your breasts feel. You can do this from the comfort of your own home in front of any mirror!
Changes to look for include:
- A lump
- Nipple discharge other than breast milk, especially a bloody discharge
- A change in size or shape
- Skin irritation, such as redness, thickening, or dimpling of the skin
- Swollen lymph nodes in the armpit
- Nipple problems, such as pain or redness
It’s important to recognize that anyone is at risk for developing breast cancer – consider this your sign to learn your body! Take some time to recognize what is and isn’t normal for you, and regularly schedule breast exams with your doctor if you are a person who has breasts. Take the first step today and schedule an appointment at your local health center, or find one near you through the Planned Parenthood Direct app.