One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. That makes breast cancer the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women, and it means that you or someone you are close to will quite likely battle the disease.
Every October we are reminded about the importance of doing self-exams and scheduling regular mammograms. And they are both really so important. In its earliest stages, breast cancer may not cause any symptoms at all, so a mammogram can be the only option for early detection. Mammograms are also particularly important for women who have others in their families diagnosed with breast cancer.
On the other hand, many women do detect breast cancer themselves. As I mentioned in a recent post, one of those people is a friend of mine who recently found a lump just a few months after her annual mammogram. Her story and the thousands of others like it are why it is absolutely vital to check your breasts regularly.
Breast cancer and personal breast exams can be an uncomfortable topic to discuss, but it is an important one. The more familiar you are with how your body typically looks and feels, the more likely it is that you will notice if something changes.
Early detection, or as early as possible, is vital. Remember that one in eight? Each year it is estimated that more than 220,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and more than 40,000 will die. Generally, the earlier breast cancer is found, the better chances for survival. My friend who found her cancer will surely live a much longer life than if that lump had not been detected by her so quickly.
It is also crucial to know that there are other warning signs and symptoms of breast cancer you can look for beyond checking for a lump in the breast. While they may be symptoms of breast cancer, they may occur for other reasons as well. I typically take a “better safe than sorry” approach, where I would rather hear from my doctor that a symptom turns out to be nothing than to ignore something, which could turn out to be serious.
Please note that this post is intended to share information and ideas, as well as to create conversation. Please consult a medical professional before making changes to your lifestyle.
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