In October, we see “pink” everywhere as Americans to help spread breast cancer awareness. Even here at Heart ‘n Home, we have a special edition pink shirt that helps us visually show support to the fighters, admire the survivors, and honor the taken. We have numerous coworkers and family members who have fought and continue to fight, this cancer. These pink shirts also stand as a reminder to be proactive in early detection. In order to do so, we need to know the signs and symptoms of breast cancer.
According to cancer.net, women are diagnosed with breast cancer and skin cancer more than any other cancer. Currently, there are more than 3.8 million women diagnosed with breast cancer. However, on a positive note, today there are more and more women beating this cancer. While studying statistics from 1989 to 2007, they found that 40% fewer women were dying from breast cancer than almost 20 years before. With early detection and improvements in treatments, the survival rates continue to grow.
Although breast cancer can’t usually be prevented, there are measures you can take to help detect it early. The sooner it is discovered, the better the survival rates. The National Breast Cancer Foundation has some great tips for early detection. It is important to know the signs and symptoms of breast cancer and to do regular self-examinations. Any time you find an abnormality during your check, it is a good idea to visit your doctor.
A person who has breast cancer may not have all of these signs or symptoms, but they often have some. It is important to do monthly self-examinations and therefore you will notice if something feels or looks different. Here are a few things to watch for:
Changes in how your breast or nipples feel or look.
Be observant and look for changes such as lumps, tenderness, or changes in the texture of your breasts.
Changes in the appearance of your breasts.
Notice if there are any changes in the size or shape of your breast or nipples. Look for redness, dimpling, shrinking, swelling, or any other changes in appearance.
Notice if there is any discharge from nipples.
Anytime a woman has discharge, other than when she is nursing, it should be reported to her doctor. Although it’s not always a sign of cancer, it is a good idea to tell your doctor. It doesn’t matter if it’s milky, clear, or bloody discharge, each should be reported.
There are great guides for doing thorough breast exams online. NationalBreastCancer.org has some great guides and resources. The most important thing to remember is to be proactive and check yourself regularly. If you care checking monthly and are watching for any changes, hopefully, you will catch things early. Also, when you reach the age of 40 it is time to consider getting regular mammograms, even if you do not have other symptoms.
If you end up having to fight this cancer, we hope that you will be just like our own Billie, who beat breast cancer 20 years ago. You can read her story that she shared with us last year by clicking here.
So In October, proudly wear your “Pink” breast cancer awareness ribbons and shirts this month and help spread awareness. Develop a self-examination routine. We encourage you to take your breast health seriously, be proactive, and aware.