October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month!
Susan G. Komen for the Cure recommends breast self-exams every month starting by age 20. Komen also recommends women in their 40s and older have mammograms every 1 or 2 years, & women who are younger than 40 with risk factors for breast cancer speak with their healthcare provider about whether and how often to have mammograms.
Symptoms of breast cancer to watch out for include: a lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm area, a change in the size or shape of the breast, dimpling or puckering in the skin of the breast, a nipple turned inward into the breast, discharge (fluid) from the nipple, especially if it's bloody, and scaly, red, or swollen skin on the breast, nipple, or areola.
You are at an increased risk for breast cancer if you: are female, White/Caucasian, over the age of 50, have a personal or family history of breast cancer, have had radiation therapy to the chest, and if you are female: have never had children or had your first child after age 30, had your first menstrual period before age 12 or went through menopause after age 55, have a history of taking DES, are overweight or obese after menopause, or drink alcohol.
Lastly, breast cancer can be both physically and emotionally devastating. If you have been diagnosed with or are a survivor of breast cancer, you can chat with Cancer Information Specialists for information on local programs, services, and support groups. No one has to go through breast cancer alone.
So ladies--show your breasts some love this month and if you don't already, start your monthly breast self-exams!
'Til Next Time...