October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. You should know about the warning signs and how to reduce your risk of breast cancer.
I’m not a doctor and am not offering medical advice. The information I am about to share with you is from The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention website, the CDC. I encourage you to do your own research and talk openly with your doctor about breast health.
Mammograms are an easy test. They are usually recommended for women 40 years old and over. It’s the best way, along with an in-person exam by your doctor to detect breast cancer. The earlier cancer is detected, the better. In between doctors visits, you should practice self-examination. You can research online how to perform a self-exam properly, or ask your doctor.
Warning signs to looks for:
- Any change in the size or shape of your breast.
- Any pain in the area of your breast.
- Any discharge from the nipple of the breast, other than milk.
- A new lump in the breast or underarm area.
These symptoms don’t necessarily mean you have breast cancer. For example, I was having some discomfort in my right breast recently. I went to my doctor. He gave me a physical exam and we discussed some lifestyle factors like whether my weight had changed. Because of the lockdown, I’ve been home a lot and not wearing a bra or anything supportive. He said he thought it was the weight of my breast causing the discomfort because I wasn’t wearing enough support. And then he sent me for a mammogram, and we confirmed that everything was OK.
Also, when I was in college I found a lump in my armpit area. I told my mom, and she took me to the doctor the next day. The doctor gave me my first breast exam. It ended up being something that resulted from shaving and then putting on anti-perspirant right away.
So not every lump or pain is cancer. But you should still get these things checked out by a doctor. Don’t be afraid of knowing the truth.
Please don’t put off your mammograms. They are so easy. They take about 5 minutes. Every time I’ve had a mammogram, the test was conducted by a woman. There is no need to feel shy or modest. They do this test all day. They don’t care what your breasts look like. A boob is just a boob to them. They are there to check on your health.
There is nothing like the feeling of peace of mind you get from getting back good test results.
In between mammograms you should practice self-examination. Some doctors recommend having a mammogram every year, some recommend 2 years, depending on your age. You should still get your in-person exam from your doctor every six months or every year, depending on how often you see your doctor.
Here are some ways the CDC recommends lowering your risk factors for breast cancer:
- maintain a healthy weight
- exercise regularly
- limit alcohol consumption
- breastfeed your children, if possible
- if you take hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills, consult with your doctor about any risks
Most breast cancer is found in women 50 years or older, but younger women can also get breast cancer. That’s why it’s important to learn how to perform a self-examination, and get examined by your doctor regularly, because you probably won’t be scheduled to get a mammogram until you’re 40. And while it’s not as common, men can get breast cancer too.
I’d like to add that good nutrition is important for preventing all types of cancers. The Mediterranean diet is the best diet in the world for preventing diseases such as cancer and heart disease that affect men and women.
Personally, I stopped using anti-perspirants that contain aluminum a long time ago. I use all-natural deodorant now instead. There is no definitive proof that anti-perspirants cause breast cancer, but it something that is talked about a lot, and you should be aware of.
I also avoid dusting powders that contain talc. If you use dusting powders, looks for ones made with cornstarch or arrowroot powder or kaolin clay.
Also, if you experience any kind of trauma to your breast. Like if you get in an accident and something hits your breast, or you get punched in the breast. Be sure to see your doctor.
And this one probably goes without saying, but please do not smoke cigarettes. Cigarette smoking is known to lead to all types of cancers. Why voluntarily do harm to your body.
October is breast cancer awareness month. This is a perfect time to schedule your mammogram, gets examined by a doctor, and learn how to perform a self-examination. Stay healthy, my friends.
For more information about breast cancer awareness:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Breast Cancer Information