October is Breast Cancer awareness month and we at MUROL are participating in spreading awareness by putting together some helpful information about breast cancer and doing an uplifting pink themed photo shoot. Breast cancer has personally affected many of us in the MUROL community so it is important to be informed about the disease.
Getting diagnosed with breast cancer is life changing, it completely turns your world upside down. Many women do not educate themselves about breast cancer until they get diagnosed. Men are very unlikely to educate themselves due to the low chances of them developing breast cancer. Everyone should make sure they are taking good care of their bodies and keeping updated on their health. Both men and women need to make it a habit to check their breasts and become familiarized with how cancerous lumps feel so they can detect abnormalities at an early stage.
A Few U.S. Breast Cancer Statistics
•About 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.
•About 2,600 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in men in 2016. A man’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000.
•A woman’s risk of breast cancer nearly doubles if she has a first-degree relative (mother, sister, or daughter) who has been diagnosed with breast cancer.
•About 85% of breast cancer occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer. These cases occur due to genetic mutations that happen as a result of aging and lifestyle choices rather than inherited mutations.
These are just a few statistics that shows how common it is to get breast cancer. This is why it is very important to perform breast self-exams to prevent yourself from becoming another statistic. Men are not immune when it comes to breast cancer. Although the chances are very low, it is still important to be mindful of the risks. There is a myth that women can only develop breast cancer if someone in their immediate family has had it. You can still get breast cancer regardless if someone in your family has it before or not.
Lower the Risk
It is very important for every woman and man to know what they can do to help lower their risk of breast cancer. There are factors associated with breast cancer such as being a woman, age, and genetics, which cannot be changed. The factors that we do have control over are being overweight, lack of exercise, smoking cigarettes, and eating unhealthy food. You can make sure your risk of getting breast cancer is lower by living a healthy lifestyle and choosing healthy options as often as possible.
Perform a Breast Self-Exam
Undergoing a mammogram is the best way to detect whether you have breast cancer. In addition doing a self-exam at least once a month can help you familiarize yourself with how your breasts look and feel so you can alert your healthcare professional if there are any changes. Johns Hopkins Medical center states, “Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, so establishing a regular breast self-exam is very important.”
1) In the Shower: Using the pads of your fingers, move around your entire breast in a circular pattern moving from the outside to the center, checking the entire breast and armpit area. Check both breasts each month feeling for any lumps, thickening, or hardened knots.
2) In the Mirror: Visually inspect your breasts with your arms at your sides. Next, raise your arms high overhead. Look for any changes in the contour, any swelling, or dimpling of the skin, or changes in the nipples. Next, rest your palms on your hips and press firmly to flex your chest muscles. Look for any dimpling, puckering, or changes, particularly on one side.
3) Lying Down: When lying down, your breast tissue will spread out evenly along the chest wall. Place a pillow under your right shoulder and your right arm behind your head. Using your left hand, move the pads of your fingers around your right breast gently in small circular motions covering the entire breast area and armpit. Use light, medium, and firm pressure. Squeeze the nipple; check for discharge and lumps. Repeat these steps for your left breast.
Visit the following sites for more help and info on breast cancer
"I live with the fear of this disease coming back. Any little pain, any little cough, I worry. I'm constantly checking myself, my breasts. I'm at the red light, in the car, and I'm checking myself. I'm obsessive-compulsive about doing my breast exam. I say to myself, 'I will conquer and overcome,' but it's a struggle for me."