October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
- Kathryn Stewart
- Monday, September 29th, 2008
Things to consider for your breast care health:
Women age 40 and older should have a mammogram every year and should continue to do so for as long as they are in good health. While mammograms can miss some cancers, they are still a very good tool to find breast cancer.
Clinical breast exam:
Women in their 20's and 30's should have a clinical breast exam (CBE) as part of a regular exam by a health expert, preferably every three years. After age 40, women should have a CBE by a health expert every year. It might be a good idea to have the CBE shortly before the mammogram. You can use the exam to learn what your own breasts feel like.
Breast awareness and breast self-exam (BSE):
BSE is an option for women starting in their 20's. Women should be told about the benefits and limitations of BSE. Women should report any changes in how their breasts look or feel to their health professional right away. If a woman decides to do BSE, she should have the doctor or nurse check the method to make sure she is doing it properly. If women do BSE on a regular basis, they get to know how their breasts normally look and feel. Then they can more easily notice changes.
Women at high risk:
Women with a higher risk of breast cancer should talk with their doctor about the best approach for them. This might mean starting mammograms when they are younger, having extra tests such as an MRI, or having more frequent exams.
The most important thing is to see your doctor right away if you notice any of these breast changes: a lump or swelling, skin irritation or dimpling, nipple pain or the nipple turning inward, redness or scaliness of the nipple or breast skin, or a discharge other than breast milk. Most of the time breast changes are not cancerous.
The American Cancer Society has the following free services available for breast cancer patients and others:
This program provides no cost mammograms for women who have no health insurance or inadequate health insurance. Susan G. Komen for the Cure Northeast Ohio Affiliate awarded a grant to the American Cancer Society. Women should call 1-888-227-6446, ext 2104 to see if they are eligible.
Breast Health Education -
Volunteer speakers visit groups and talk to them about the importance of screenings and breast health. Targeted groups include business associations, churches and clubs where women commonly meet.
Look Good Feel Better -
Volunteer licensed cosmetologists and beauty professionals lead small groups, usually consisting of six to ten women, through a practical, hands-on session. Women learn about makeup techniques, skin care, nail care and options related to hair loss such as wigs, turbans and scarves.
Mammogram Reminder -
visit www.cancer.org/MammogramReminder and complete the easy registration for the Health Messaging Assistant. You will start receiving annual mammogram reminders through email.
Patient Navigator -
Cancer patients often need assistance to help them find different resources available in the community. Patient Navigators help by providing useful information and services while undergoing treatment for cancer.
Reach to Recovery -
Volunteers make visits to newly diagnosed breast cancer patients in communities throughout the United States. Reach to Recovery volunteers not only provide support, but also offer information on how to take care of yourself after surgery. They supply a temporary soft prosthesis, booklets on treatment of cancer and answer non-medical questions.
Support Groups -
Several breast cancer support groups meet on a regular basis. These meetings give women a chance to talk to other breast cancer survivors and in addition learn about the latest in breast cancer research and treatment options.
Information above provided by the American Cancer Society
Additional Links and info:
Please visit: http://www.nbcam.org/ to find out more about the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month programs.
Please also visit: Making Strides.org if you would like to be a part of the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.
For an oline video tutorial to conduct a breast self-exam, click here.