Disclaimer. The statements expressed are that of Bounceless®. Bounceless® is not providing medical advice. Please seek a professional for advice if you are in need of medical care.
While October is ending, our commitment to breast cancer awareness continues. Education is still needed. Having a month dedicated to awareness is great. Taking action is even better.
With the increase of women under the age of 40 being diagnosed with breast cancer, it is imperative that we take charge of our health by being the first to know what is going on with our own bodies.
It’s okay to feel yourself. Seriously. Self-breast exams are essential to your health. No one knows your body like you.
Regardless of what the current recommendation is for self-exams (there is controversy), you should be familiar with your body and the changes it may be going through.
Knowing your family’s history along with knowing your current health status are the first steps in being an advocate for your health.
Here are some activities to keep in mind throughout the year.
Every first of the month, feel your breast. Make this a monthly routine so that you can be the first to know what may be going on within your body.
Check for these signs of cancer when you #feelitonthefirst:
- New lump in the breast or underarm (armpit).
- Thickening or swelling of part of the breast.
- Irritation or dimpling of breast skin.
- Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast.
- Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area.
- Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood.
- Any change in the size or the shape of the breast.
- Pain in any area of the breast.
If you notice something abnormal, call your doctor. Waiting for an annual checkup may be too late.
Incorporate healthy habits into your lifestyle.
A healthy diet and daily exercise can reduce the risk of cancer and other diseases. Making small changes one day at a time can be life changing.
- Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables. Frozen fruit is a great alternative if fresh fruit is not available.
- Replace unhealthy snacks-such as high sodium chips-with low sodium chips or trail mix.
- Reduce alcohol consumption.
- Slowly ease into a workout routine. Walking is still a great way to exercise without exerting a lot of energy. Being inactive brings on health issues.
- Avoid tobacco.
Schedule your mammogram
Mammograms are uncomfortable. If you have felt it on the first and called your doctor, having a mammogram will be the next step in determining the status of your breast health. Keep in mind: While mammograms are widely used for screening for breast cancer, breast cancer can still go undetected.
Asking for an ultrasound, particularly when you have dense breasts, is an additional screening tool. Be prepared for initial objections to ultrasounds unless you are experiencing pain, redness, or discharge of the breasts. If you feel you need an ultrasound, keep pressing your health care provider.
Education is key to knowing what to look for concerning your breast health and who to reach out to. Take caution when navigating the internet as there is a ton of information, some of which can be misleading.
While Bounceless® does not endorse any particular organization, here is an educational guide as a starting point.
You are the driver of your health.
While this information may reduce the risk of breast cancer, it is important to remember that if you or a loved one is diagnosed, early detection saves lives. With the current advancements in our medical care, women are thriving past their diagnosis.
Please do not let October be the only month that you take notice of your breast health.
You matter. And so do your breasts.