Take Charge of Your Breast Health

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Did you know that 40 percent of breast lumps that end up being cancerous are found by women? While this figure might sound frightening, it’s also important to remember that 90 percent of breast lumps in women between the ages of 20 and 50 are not cancerous.

October is breast health awareness month... but please don't put off what you can do today!

What can you do at home? Doctors recommend that women perform a monthly self breast exam so they are aware of what is normal for them. The best time to do so is after the menstrual cycle when lumps would be easier to feel.

While performing the self breast exam, be on the lookout for anything abnormal: a lump that doesn’t go away after your period or feels like a rock in your breast tissue, changes in skin on the breast and nipple discharge or inversion. If you do notice anything abnormal, it’s important to see your doctor right away for further investigation.

It is recommended that all women get a clinical breast exam at their doctor’s office at least every three years. In addition, women should get a baseline mammogram between the ages of 40 and 49. Talk to your doctor to determine the best schedule for your screenings, which may vary based on your family medical history or any other increased risk factors.

An ounce of prevention

Maintaining a healthy weight is key to disease prevention, including various cancers. This includes exercising for 45 minutes to an hour five days a week and eating a low-fat diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables, especially cruciferous varieties like broccoli and cauliflower. Doctors also recommend reducing your alcohol intake since alcohol is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.

Remember, with early detection of breast cancer comes better treatment options. Stay aware of what’s normal for you, and see your doctor for regular screenings.

For more information about breast health or to schedule your annual breast exam using 3D mammography, visit the HonorHealth Breast Health and Research Center.