“With over 3 million women battling breast cancer today, everywhere you turn there is a mother, daughter, sister, or friend who has been affected by breast cancer.” ~ Betsey Johnson
Though some breast cancer risks may be beyond your control there are some things you can do for prevention. Don’t let the busyness of life consume your time and prevent you from checking your breasts to make sure you don’t become a statistic and stay on a healthy path in life. Take action to decrease your risk:
- Learn about your family history and share it with your doctor.
- Make lifestyle modifications to eat healthy and stay active. Consuming alcohol may increase your risk. Exercising at least four hours per week may decrease your risk.
- If you are taking post-menopausal hormone therapy, be sure to understand your risks.
- Be vigilant in your monthly breast self-exams, and annual physician breast exams.
- Get your screening mammograms. Discuss with your doctor when to get your first one and how frequent you need them.
- Know your breasts and get an evaluation if you have concerns or notice a new breast lump, skin change, or nipple discharge.
Breast Self Exam Tips
Consult with your doctor to perform a manual exam and mammogram based on your history and risk factors. The American Cancer Society recommends beginning monthly breast self-exams at age 20. Check with your doctor or The American Cancer Society website (www.cancer.org) to be sure you are performing your self-exam properly. Perform your monthly self breast exams at the same time of every month. Avoid the week before your period as that may interfere*. Look at your breast in front of the mirror. Look for dimpling, puckering, and unusual skin changes. Feel for lumps. If you have large breasts, consider do this lying down, otherwise in the shower. Put your left hand behind your head and use your right finger pads to feel your left breast. Gently glide your finger pads around in concentric circles until you have felt your entire breast area. Then work from the outside moving toward your nipple and feel from the underarm along the outer border of your breast. Now sweep your three fingers from your collar bone down to your nipple and continue in all directions to feel the deeper layers of your tissue. Check for nipple discharge. Use your right hand make a gentle milking squeeze. For more information on breasts, breast augmentation, breast lifts, breast reductions and more medical advice on the female body contact Dr. Mariam Awada at Michigan Cosmetic Surgery.