How well do you know your breasts? How much time have you spent with them lately?
It only takes about 2 minutes a month to check your breasts. Those 2 minutes could save your life!
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2009 there will be 192,370 new cases of invasive breast cancer in the United States, causing 40,170 deaths.
The chances of a woman being diagnosed with breast cancer at some point during her life is about 1 in 8. The chance of dying from breast cancer is about 1 in 35. Males can also have breast cancer, usually diagnosed between the ages of 60 and 70, and making up less than 1 percent of all cases.
Early detection is the best weapon against breast cancer. That’s why those 2 minutes are so important. Knowing how your breasts normally look and feel will allow you to notice subtle changes early on. Not every change is an indication of cancer, but it’s worth a call to the doctor.
In addition to self-examination, women should have a clinical breast exam as part of our routine checkups. Women over the age of 40 should also have a mammogram each year. It is a quick and painless procedure that enables doctors to find lumps that cannot be felt.
Some risk factors for breast cancer, such as genetics, cannot be avoided, but smoking, excessive use of alcohol, obesity, an unhealthy diet, and lack of exercise may be contributing factors that can be controlled. And we all have 2 minutes a month to spare.
Breast Patrol… it’s a matter of life and death.
From the American Cancer Society: How to Perform a Breast Self-Exam
Get involved in the fight against breast cancer:
Photo: National Institutes of Health