October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and a perfect reason to start a monthly regimen of self breast examinations to detect any abnormalities or changes in the breast tissue. According to The National Cancer Institute, approximately 12.4% of women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their life – but due to early intervention and advanced screening, the survival rate after 5 years for women diagnosed with breast cancer has climbed to 89.7%. Regular self breast examinations and scheduled screenings and mammograms with your health care provider are critical for prevention and treatment.
According to The National Breast Cancer Foundation, there are three areas to assess when performing self examinations: 1. Is there a change in how your breast or nipple feels; 2. Is there a change in the appearance of your breast or nipple; and 3. Do you notice any unusual discharge (breastfeeding excluded). Qualities such as skin dimpling, tenderness, or thickening of a particular area of the breast, recent asymmetry of the breast or nipple, unexplained swelling or shrinking of the breast, recent growths or lumps within the breast tissue, or rash occurrence are all reasons to make an appointment with your primary care physician for additional screening.
While the occurrence of one or two of these symptoms does not necessarily indicate that cancer is the culprit, early detection is vital for for swift and effective treatment, and your physician will help you to monitor any further changes or treat problematic symptoms present in your breast tissue.
While perhaps a bit “hair raising,” the video below demonstrated on a male participant (to avoid nipple censorship) provides an excellent visual of how to self examine your breasts for any new changes. The viral video was created in Argentina by breast cancer charity, MACMA, in the hopes that women could share the life-saving video via social media networks without censorship.
“The breasts of women, [particularly] nipples, are censored in some social networks, even if what they are doing is to show a breast self-examination to reduce the risk of breast cancer,” said spokeswoman for the charity, Monica Asturizaga.
So check yourself, share away, and help to save a life!
The National Breast Cancer Foundation. Symptoms and Signs. Accessed 10/19/16.
National Cancer Institute. Cancer Statistics. Accessed 10/19/16.
MACMA. #TetasxTetas. Accessed 10/19/16.
Barrier Islands Free Medical Clinic provides medical care to eligible patients, just like any family practitioner or internist – but it is free. We serve uninsured adults living at or below 200 % of the Federal poverty level who live or work on Johns, Wadmalaw or James Islands. You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.