October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Did you know that according to the American Cancer Society the death rate for breast cancer decreased by 36% between 1989 and 2012? Early detection is a major reason for this!
Early detection comes with the patient and physician working together to detect changes in the breast that could be cancer. There are 3 basic components of this collaboration:
- Yearly Breast exam –schedule your annual exam and be sure you physician does a breast exam while you are there!
- Mammography— For most women a yearly mammogram is recommended beginning at age 40. Discuss with your physician what schedule is right for you.
3D mammography may be a good choice for you especially if you have more dense breast tissue. 3D Mammography involves taking multiple low dose images to create a 3D picture. A recent study* has shown that the 3D mammogram has a better detection rate and a lower false positive rate than the normal mammogram. This means that more cancers were detected earlier even though fewer women had to have additional testing.
- Breast Self–Awareness Breast self-awareness means knowing what is normal for you and noticing changes and discussing them with your health care provider. It involves checking your breasts regularly by looking and feeling for changes in size, shape, color, and texture both on the surface and in the deep tissue. If you notice any of these symptoms that persist or worsen for 2-3 weeks, see your doctor:
- Swelling, soreness or rash
- Warmth, redness or darkening
- Change in size or shape
- Dimpling or puckering of skin
- Itchy, scaly sore or rash on nipple
- Nipple that becomes flat or inverted
- Nipple discharge
- New, persistent pain in one spot
- Persistent itching
- Bumps that resemble bug bites
- A lump, particularly one that feels like a frozen pea