Why should you “Think Pink” during October?
• One in eight women will develop cancer during her lifetime.
• Almost 232,340 new breast cancer cases are expected in 2013.
• Breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer found in American women.
• Risk factors for breast cancer include age, family history of cancer, alcohol use and obesity.
• Women age 40 and older should get a mammogram every one to two years
– Statistics are according to the American Cancer Society
Many women who develop breast cancer do not have any known risk factors. Still, we know that women who possess certain risk factors are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer than the general population. Although some women who have one or more risk factors may never develop breast cancer, we can use the knowledge of these risk factors to target higher-risk women with increased breast surveillance and breast cancer prevention strategies.
Certain, unavoidable risk factors — such as gender and age — make us all susceptible to breast cancer. Other risk factors, such as family history, are also factors that we cannot change. However, research has shown that there are some risk factors, including alcohol intake and body weight, which are modifiable.
How can you check your breasts?
*It’s as simple as TLC
TOUCH your breasts.
- Can you feel anything unusual?
- Can you feel a lump? Either in the breast, upper chest or armpits.
- Is there a lumpy area? Or unusual thickening of the breast tissue that doesn’t go away?
- Is there any unusual pain? Either in part of the breast or the armpit.
LOOK for changes. Is there any change in shape or texture?
- Any change in size or shape? For example, one breast might become larger or lower than the other.
- Any change in skin texture? Such as puckering or dimpling of the skin of the breast.
- Any change in colour? For example the breast may look red or inflamed.
- What about the appearance or direction of the nipple? For example, one might become inverted (turned in) when it normally points out.
- Any unusual discharge? One or both nipples might have a discharge.
- Any rash or crusting? Of the nipple or surrounding area.
CHECK anything unusual with your doctor.
- Is anything unusual? If so, get it checked out by your doctor as soon as possible.
No one knows your body better than you and everyone will have their own way of touching and looking for changes – there’s no special technique and you don’t need any training. It’s good to get into the habit of doing this regularly – maybe when you’re in the bath or shower, or while getting dressed in the morning. You might prefer to do it while standing up or lying down. Either way, the important thing is to be familiar with how your breasts look and feel normally, so you notice anything unusual – and remember to check the whole breast area, including your upper chest and armpits.
Find more information on the leaflet from Breakthrough Breast Cancer. There is also a helpful video up there on the page!
*Source: Breakthrough Breast Cancer