Sunday, October 3, 2010

Breast Cancer Awareness Month Series: Part 1



Time is flying by really quickly. It’s October of another year, and as we all know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Research has shown that breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women. So as we take time out to fight this fight, remember those we’ve lost, and celebrate those that won the fight, I will be sharing a few tips on how we can get involved. This week, it’s all about the ladies. Whether you are in your 20s, 30s, 40s, or above, there are steps each of us need to take to catch breast cancer as early as possible.

Under 30:
When you’re in your twenties and younger, the first thought in your mind is not usually about how you can prevent cancer or even detect it. But the earlier we become aware of our bodies, the better chance we have to stay healthy into our old age. What can you do to remain aware while you are under 30? Go for a clinical breast exam every 3 years. More frequently, you can do regular self breast exams. But there’s no use doing them blindly. Get to know how your breasts normally look and feel. This way, you can easily report any changes to your doctor early.

In Your 30s:
When you’re in your thirties, the suggested rule for clinical breast exams is also once every 3 years. However, this is the age when it becomes important to consider all the factors that may contribute to having additional tests. If you have a family history of cancer, or any form of a genetic tendency, talk to your doctor about them because you may need to be screened more frequently, or have with MRIs as well as regular mammograms. As always, don’t forget the regular self breast exams.

Above 40:
There are different suggested rules for the frequency of mammograms (mammograms are simply breast x-rays) and clinical breast exams in your 40s and 50s. Some health bodies suggest beginning these breast exams annually at 40, while some other health organizations say you should start annual breast exams in your fifties. I believe it is all about a level of comfort. Do you have a family history of cancer? Do you take necessary health precautions? Then maybe you can wait till you’re 50. If you are uncomfortable waiting, and think you may have some genetic risk, definitely start the annual process at 40. But when you are above the age of 40, the importance of self breast exams increases even more. Note that there’s only so much a self exam can tell you, but at least you have a greater chance of catching any irregularities early.

Self Breast Exams:
Okay, so we know what we need to do at what age. Now how do we perform a self breast exam? Here is an awesome video that shows how.


A quick note for the gentlemen reading this. The statistics show that men make up about 2 percent of breast cancer patients every year. So please don’t think you are immune. If you also notice any changes at all, contact your doctor immediately.

Remember to get involved every way you know how this month, in honor of the people you may know that are fighting the disease. I will be in contact with several oncologists this month so please send me any questions you may have and we’ll get them answered.

Cheers Eights and Weights!

4 comments:

  1. Great post - it is important that we're aware of our bodies and breasts and a lot of cancers can be cured completely if caught early. Thanks for the tips at every age, and also for pointing out that breast cancer affects men too.

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  2. Thanks for the tips (thought I'd commented here already). This is very useful information and I'll admit I don't know how to do a self exam.

    I got a thorough exam a couple of years ago when I thought I had a lump but it was a false alarm.

    Thanks again for this.

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  3. This is really good stuff....keep it up plsss!!

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  4. Thanks guys! I'm glad it helped :)

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