Ladies and gentlemen, it’s that time again…. Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This is the time when various organizations from hospitals to community groups place heightened emphasis on breast cancer screening and education. And for good reason. According to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, 1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer during her life time. It’s estimated that nearly 64,000 cases on non-invasive carcinoma in situ, the earliest form of breast cancer, will be diagnosed in 2017. Further, it’s estimated that nearly 253,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will also be diagnosed this year.
Risk factors include age, family history and genetics. When it comes to family history, women with an immediate blood relative such as a mother or sister who had breast cancer are twice as likely to develop disease.
Here’s where the disease has affected my family. My mother is a long-time breast cancer survivor. In response, Breast Cancer Awareness Month is every month for me. I’ve had a mammogram performed every year since I was 39-years-old. I am grateful that every exam, including this year, has come back clear.
There’s so much more information and stories about breast cancer that I couldn’t possibly cover everything in this post. I will however pass along the following important message about self-breast examination from Johns Hopkins Medical Center followed by an infographic provided by the Cancer Treatment Centers of America.
Once a Month
Adult women of all ages are encouraged to perform breast self-exams at least once a month. Johns Hopkins Medical center states,
“Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, so establishing a regular breast self-exam is very important.”
While mammograms can help you to detect cancer before you can feel a lump, breast self-exams help you to be familiar with how your breasts look and feel so you can alert your healthcare professional if there are any changes.