Did you know that while breast cancer is more common in American white women, African-American women are more likely to die from it? Did you know that scientists can’t figure out why the left breast develops cancer more frequently than the right breast? Or that the first operation that used anesthesia to numb pain was for a breast cancer surgery? Breast cancer awareness is promoted for the entire month of October to heighten awareness and help women, in particular, to take this disease seriously.
According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, not only is a woman diagnosed with breast cancer every two minutes, but it is the most common cancer on the planet. The good news is, when detected early, your survival rate significantly increases. Hence why your gynecologist or general physician recommends that you perform regular, monthly breast self-exams. Because we don’t yet know what causes breast cancer, there’s currently no cure, and this is why it’s vital to catch it early when it is most easily and successfully treated.
The medical community promotes the following for breast cancer recovery:
- Heightened awareness
- Early detection via screening (mammography)
- Better treatment methods
- Increasing access to breast health services
What to Look for and When to Get Checked
Thanks to a mammogram, breast cancer can be spotted even before you show symptoms. The rest of the time, your breast self-exams spot problems early when treatment is most effective. Noticing any changes in how your breasts and nipples look and feel can make the difference between life and the alternative.
- Breast Lumps: Even though breast tissue normally has a somewhat bumpy feel to it, if you notice any new or unusual lumpiness in a breast, consider getting checked, especially if the lump feels hard to the touch or otherwise different than the rest of the breast (or your other breast). Unusual lumps might indicate a cyst, fibroadenoma, or cancer, which needs to be ruled out. A good rule of thumb is that if you aren’t sure you should have it checked, go ahead and do it. It’s better to have peace of mind and certainty than to overlook something serious.
- Nipple Discharge: If your nipples are leaking, it doesn’t typically point to cancer unless your breast leaks when you’re not squeezing your nipple or there’s leaking from one breast only. Any kind of leaking with blood in it or clear liquid needs to be evaluated. That’s because the nipples can leak if you have an infection or other issue which also needs to be medically treated.
Promote Breast Cancer Awareness
Practice self-care and perform monthly breast self-exams as part of supporting and promoting breast cancer awareness. Awareness also focuses on treating this relentless disease, which often depends on the stage and particular type of cancer it is, your age, and general health at the time of discovery as well as your personal and family history. Once a diagnosis is confirmed, you will need to work with a doctor who treats breast cancer. Treatment might involve having surgery, chemotherapy, hormone therapy or radiation.
Today’s breast cancer treatments may involve oncoplastic surgery, which removes cancerous breast tissue and re-sculpts the breast’s tissue so that symmetry is accomplished and a more natural look for an outcome that supports self confidence. If you have any questions about your breasts or breast surgery, we invite you to call our office to learn more. We are here to help look and feel your best!