October is breast cancer awareness month, which brings more awareness of the disease and more information to all women on how we can take our own measures for early detection. Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers among women in the US. Thankfully to new forms of early detection including self-checks, there is a higher probably in surviving this disease.
What is breast cancer?
Breast cancer is a malignant tumor, which the cells originate and form in the breast tissue and can spread to other areas of the body. Breast cancer can occur in men but is much more rare and is much more common in women.
Signs and Symptoms
One of the most common symptoms of breast cancer is a lump that is felt in the breast tissue. This lump can be detected at home or during a clinical exam. Other symptoms can include breast or nipple pain, skin irritation or dimpling, redness or thickening of the nipple of the breast skin, nipple discharge other than breast milk, swollen lymph nodes in the surrounding areas. These signs do not necessarily mean you have breast cancer, but they should be brought to the attention of your providing physician.
Women in their 20s should conduct self breast exams monthly, especially after periods. Women in their 20s and 30s should have clinical breast exams every three years in addition to self exams. Women in their 40s should have started to have their clinical breast exams every year and should have a mammogram every year.
It is critical that if you experience any signs or symptoms that are abnormal like the ones stated above, that you report them to your providing physician. In addition, it is also important that you see your OBGYN and get your wellness check yearly to ensure you are in your best health! Call and make an appointment today if you haven’t had your check up this year.