Sunday, September 28, 2014

Knowing Your ABC's Could Help You Prevent Breast Cancer

More than three-quarters of all breast cancers occur in women 50 and older.  Most women think about a lifestyle change after a loved one or close friend is diagnosed with breast cancer.  They begin to do things such limiting their alcohol intake to one drink a day, they stop smoking, they begin managing their weight by becoming more physically fit.   These are all great lifestyle changes that every woman should practice, but they fail to realize that simply knowing the ABC's of Breast Cancer could also help save their lives.  Many women ask what are the ABC's of Breast Cancer?

The letter A stands for mammogram.  This is the most important part of your yearly exams. A mammogram is a simple x-ray that can find cancers when they are very small.  Mammograms have been able to detect cancers before a lump is able to be felt.  The American Cancer society recommends women ages 20-39 to have a mammogram at least every three years, and for women age 40 and over yearly.

The letter B stands for Breast Exam.  Breast exams are recommended yearly when women are age 40 or older.  First the breast exam should include knowing their family history that includes family members who have had breast cancer.  Second, looking at their breast in front of a mirror with their hands pressing down on their hips.  Third, examine the entire breast area, including up to the neck, into the armpit, over to the center of the chest, and to the bottom of the rib cage.  Fourth, examine the breast using a vertical strip pattern to make sure that no breast tissue is missed.  Fifth, use different amounts of pressure to examine the breast (light, medium, and deep).

The letter C stands for Breast Awareness.  Women should know how their breast normally look and feel.  Women should check for dimpling of the skin.  Remember many women have lumps that are found by their significant others so be aware of any changes.  Once any changes are noted make sure they are report the changes to their physicians.

Remember that breast cancer can occur at any age, but it is more likely to occur after age 40 and as you get older.  cancer.org