October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

         SEMO Student post 2   One in eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. Luckily, when breast cancer is detected early, at a localized stage, the survival rate is 98 percent.

            Early detection is key. The American Cancer Society recommends women age 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year, and women 55 and older should switch to every 2 years. Some women, due to having a family history of breast cancer, a genetic tendency, or certain other factors, should be screened more often. Talk with your health care provider about your risk of breast cancer and the best screening plan for you.

Monthly breast self-examination is free and can be done by women of all ages.

The five steps of a breast self-exam:

            1. Begin by looking at breasts in a mirror, such as before a shower. Look at their usual size, shape, and color. Are they evenly shaped without visible distortion or swelling? Any signs of dimpling, puckering, or bulging of the skin, a nipple that has changed position or inverted itself, or redness, soreness, rash, or swelling should be reported to your doctor.

            2. Next, raise arms above head and look for the same size, shape, and color changes.

            3. While at the mirror, look for any type of fluid that may come out of one or both nipples.

            4. The next step needs to be done while lying down. Use the right hand to feel the left breast, and left hand to feel the right breast. Using the first two or three fingers’ pads, keep a firm, smooth touch in a circular motion. Cover the entire breast from top to bottom, collarbone to top of stomach, and side to side, armpit to cleavage.

            5. Repeat feeling the breasts for any lumps while in the standing or sitting position using same circular motion and pattern to cover entire breasts.