In honor of World Cancer Day, we are sharing our Breast Cancer Awareness guide — including basic stats, what it means, and how to conduct a monthly breast exam.
Cancer is a broad term for a class of diseases characterized by abnormal cells that grow and invade healthy cells in the body. Breast cancer starts in the cells of the breast as a group of caner cells that can then invade surrounding tissues or spread (metastasize) to other areas of the body.
Perform a monthly breast self exam.
Some breast cancer symptoms can be caught early just by being proactive about your breast health. By performing monthly breast self-exams, you will be able to more easily identify breast cancer before there are signs or symptoms of the disease. Be sure to talk to your healthcare professional if you notice anything unusual.
1. Observe your breasts
In front of the mirror, visually inspect your breasts with your arms at your sides. Next, raise your arms high overhead. Finally, rest your palms on your hips and press firmly to flex your chest muscles
What to look for:
2. Touch your breasts
With the pads/flats of your 3 middle fingers, check the entire breast and armpit area pressing down with light, medium, and firm pressure. Check both breasts each month, feeling for any lumps, thickening, hardened knots, or other changes.
What to feel for:
Breast cancer affects 1 out of 8 women in the United States.
Fortunately, death rates from breast cancer have been declining since around 1990, in part due to better screening and early detection, treatment, awareness, and ongoing improvements to treatment options.