Don't go blindly,Self-examination saves lifes by Kania Puspitahati/tag break featuring a shawl cardigan
LEARN ABOUT YOUR RISKS :
Anyone with breast tissue – men and women – is at risk for developing breast cancer. But only one percent of men and one in eight women will develop breast cancer. Knowing your risks – and what you can do to reduce your risks – is a great way to raise your personal breast cancer awareness.
When you're told that you have breast cancer, it's natural to wonder what may have caused the disease. But no one knows the exact causes of breast cancer. Doctors seldom know why one woman develops breast cancer and another doesn't.
Doctors do know that bumping, bruising, or touching the breast does not cause cancer. And breast cancer is not contagious. You can't catch it from another person.
Doctors also know that women with certain risk factors are more likely than others to develop breast cancer. A risk factor is something that may increase the chance of getting a disease.
Some risk factors (such as drinking alcohol) can be avoided. But most risk factors (such as having a family history of breast cancer) can't be avoided.
Studies have found the following risk factors for breast cancer:
Age: The chance of getting breast cancer increases as you get older. Most women are over 60 years old when they are diagnosed.
Personal health history: Having breast cancer in one breast increases your risk of getting cancer in your other breast. Also, having certain types of abnormal breast cells (atypical hyperplasia, lobular carcinoma in situ [LCIS], or ductal carcinoma in situ [DCIS]) increases the risk of invasive breast cancer. These conditions are found with a breast biopsy.
Family health history: Your risk of breast cancer is higher if your mother, father, sister, or daughter had breast cancer. The risk is even higher if your family member had breast cancer before age 50. Having other relatives (in either your mother's or father's family) with breast cancer or ovarian cancer may also increase your risk.
Certain genome changes: Changes in certain genes, such as BRCA1 or BRCA2, substantially increase the risk of breast cancer. Tests can sometimes show the presence of these rare, specific gene changes in families with many women who have had breast cancer, and health care providers may suggest ways to try to reduce the risk of breast cancer or to improve the detection of this disease in women who have these genetic changes.
Also, researchers have found specific regions on certain chromosomes that are linked to the risk of breast cancer. If a woman has a genetic change in one or more of these regions, the risk of breast cancer may be slightly increased.
Radiation therapy to the chest: Women who had radiation therapy to the chest (including the breasts) before age 30 are at an increased risk of breast cancer. This includes women treated with radiation for Hodgkin lymphoma. Studies show that the younger a woman was when she received radiation treatment, the higher her risk of breast cancer later in life.
Reproductive and menstrual history:
The older a woman is when she has her first child, the greater her chance of breast cancer.
Women who never had children are at an increased risk of breast cancer.
Women who had their first menstrual period before age 12 are at an increased risk of breast cancer.
Women who went through menopause after age 55 are at an increased risk of breast cancer.
Women who take menopausal hormone therapy for many years have an increased risk of breast cancer.
Race: In the United States, breast cancer is diagnosed more often in white women than in African American/black, Hispanic/Latina, Asian/Pacific Islander, or American Indian/Alaska Native women.
Breast density: Breasts appear on a mammogram (breast x-ray) as having areas of dense and fatty (not dense) tissue. Women whose mammograms show a larger area of dense tissue than the mammograms of women of the same age are at increased risk of breast cancer.
History of taking DES: DES was given to some pregnant women in the United States between about 1940 and 1971. (It is no longer given to pregnant women.) Women who took DES during pregnancy may have a slightly increased risk of breast cancer. The possible effects on their daughters are under study.
Being overweight or obese after menopause: The chance of getting breast cancer after menopause is higher in women who are overweight or obese.
Lack of physical activity: Women who are physically inactive throughout life may have an increased risk of breast cancer.
Drinking alcohol: Studies suggest that the more alcohol a woman drinks, the greater her risk of breast cancer.
Having a risk factor does not mean that a woman will get breast cancer. Most women who have risk factors never develop breast cancer.
Early breast cancer usually doesn't cause symptoms. But as the tumor grows, it can change how the breast looks or feels. The common changes include:
A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm area
A change in the size or shape of the breast
Dimpling or puckering in the skin of the breast
A nipple turned inward into the breast
Discharge (fluid) from the nipple, especially if it's bloody
Scaly, red, or swollen skin on the breast, nipple, or areola (the dark area of skin at the center of the breast). The skin may have ridges or pitting so that it looks like the skin of an orange.
You should see your health care provider about any symptom that does not go away. Most often, these symptoms are not due to cancer. Another health problem could cause them. If you have any of these symptoms, you should tell your health care provider so that the problems can be diagnosed and treated
Know Your Breast Lumps
During a breast self-exam, you may notice lumps or a change in texture. Knowing the difference between harmless and harmful lumps is important to your breast health.
There are three kinds of benign breast lumps:
SELF EXAMINATION IS THE KEY
How To Do a Breast Self Exam (BSE)
Time Required: 15 minutes a month
What You Need:
•A mirror which lets you see both breasts
•A pillow for your head and shoulders
1. Make a regular date for your BSE
If you are pre-menopausal: Set a regular time to examine your breasts a few days after your period ends, when hormone levels are relatively stable and breasts are less tender.
If you are already menopausal (have not had a period for a year or more): Pick a particular day of the month to do the exam, and then repeat your BSE on that day each month.
2. Visual Exam - Hands on Hips
In the privacy of your bathroom, strip to the waist and stand before a mirror. You will need to see both breasts at the same time. Stand with your hands on your hips and check the appearance of your breasts. Look at size, shape, and contour. Note changes, if any, in the skin color or texture. Look at the nipples and areolas, to see how healthy they look.
3. Visual Exam - Arms Over Your Head
Still standing in front of the mirror, raise your arms over your head and see if your breasts move in the same way, and note any differences. Look at size, shape, and drape, checking for symmetry. Pay attention to your nipples and areolas, to see if you have any dimples, bumps, or retraction (indentation). Look up toward your armpits and note if there is any swelling where your lymph nodes are (lower armpit area).
4. Manual Exam - Stand and Stroke
Raise your left arm overhead, and use your right-hand fingers to apply gentle pressure to the left breast. Stroke from the top to the bottom of the breast, moving across from the inside of the breast all the way into your armpit area. You can also use a circular motion, being sure to cover the entire breast area. Take note of any changes in texture, color, or size. Switch sides and repeat. This is best done in the shower, as wet skin will have the least resistance to the friction of your fingers.
5. Manual Exam - Check Your Nipples
Still facing the mirror, lower both arms. With the index and middle fingers of your right hand, gently squeeze the left nipple and pull forward. Does the nipple spring back into place? Does it pull back into the breast? Note whether or not any fluid leaks out. Reverse your hands and check the right nipple in the same way.
6. Manual Exam - Recline and Stroke
This is best done in your bedroom, where you can lie down. Place a pillow on the bed so that you can lie with both your head and shoulders on the pillow. Lie down and put your left hand behind your head. Use your right hand to stroke the breast and underarm, as you did in step 4. Take note of any changes in texture, color, or size. Switch sides and repeat.
7. Tips For Doing Your BSE
1.Mark your calendar to remind yourself to do your BSE regularly. This is a good way to prevent worry if find a normal cyclic change.
2.Stay relaxed and breathe normally as you do your BSE. Becoming tense will produce some knots that you may mistake for something worrisome.
3.Report any changes or unusual pain to your doctor or nurse practitioner. Keep a log of changes, if that helps you remember.
4.Remember to have an annual clinical exam and a mammogram.
The official website of National Cancer Institute will give you more information about breast cancer staging,Treatment, nutrition and physical activity,aswell Follow up care.
Suggested reading :
•Reduce Your Risk of Breast Cancer - Actions You Can Take
•How to Do a Male Breast Self Exam
•Benign Breast Conditions That Are Not Breast Cancer
•Breast Ultrasound Exam - What to Expect
2.National cancer Institute
Recommended Books :