Know Your Breasts
Just Do It! We have been talking about this for numerous weeks now and there are no good excuses… perform your breast self exams and KNOW YOUR BREASTS!
It is the best form of early detection and could make the difference between aggressive treatment and a lumpectomy. If you are not convinced already, read what our expert contributors – and breast cancer survivors – have told us regarding breast self exams and how they save lives.
Know Your Breasts
I discovered my lump at the age of 35 while applying lotion. I never performed monthly breast exams and it was by chance that I came across my tumor. My cancer was advanced stage. If I had acted promptly and been proactively doing my breast exams, I could have caught it earlier and avoided aggressive treatment. I highly encourage women to know what their breasts feel like and report any changes to their doctor ASAP!
Daily Breast Self Exams
Rather than make a set time each week or month to examine your breasts for any changes, get to know your breasts by touching them each day when you shower or bathe. Run your hands lightly over your breasts, and up under your arms (breast tissue extends into your armpits). If you do this every day – rather than wait, and do it once a month – you’ll quickly know what your breasts feel like normally; and you’ll just as quickly notice any changes, which should be reported to your doctor if they don’t disappear within several weeks.
You Are Your Own Best Advocate!
As a two time breast cancer survivor (diagnosed at ages 43 and 44) who lost my mom to breast cancer at 45, I realized that I am my own best advocate. All of the doctors I interviewed have many patients. The surgeon and oncologist I eventually chose I trusted completely. However, I felt the better informed I was, the better chance I had of surviving.
My first lump was found through a Breast Self Exam – done monthly in the shower, with a reminder tag to remind me. This lump was benign, but when I was diagnosed 6 years later, I had no lump. My cancer was found through my yearly mammogram. I cluster of micro-calcifications that weren’t there the year before. I felt fine, I was otherwise healthy, I wouldn’t have known if it weren’t for my mammogram.
Despite being caught early, and being a small area-only needing a lumpectomy, the cancer recurred a year later. This time there was a lump, but it could have been scar tissue. The MRI found it was cancer, a different type, again early, but aggressive. By being aware of our bodies, and being vigilent with our check-ups we can survive!