I don’t know why, but recently I’ve been caught up in reading blogs writtten by women with breast cancer. Maybe it’s that voyeuristic part of me that likes to get a glimpse into the lives and struggles of others besides my own. Or maybe it’s just my curious nature. Whatever the case, for the past few days, that’s all I’ve been doing. The stories of triumph and sometimes times defeat these women share are inspiring and sad all at the same time. As I read I often wonder how I wouild react in the face of such devastating news. Surely not as courageous as some of these women. In the midst of it all, it made me realize how I’ve been slack in doing my own self exams. I used to be good about these things. I noticed that I was somewhat afraid to do my own exam after reading the blogs. But yet I did and it appears all is well. But I stress the importance of doing monthly self checks. The survival rate increases the earlier breast cancer is detected. This is an ugly disease and hopefully a cure is found soon. In the meantime be proactive, know your body, and watch for any changes. If you notice any of the following symptoms, make an appointment with your ob/gyn immediately. Be healthy!
Symptoms of Breast Cancer
* lumps, hard knot or thickening in any part of the breast
* unusual swelling, warmth, redness or darkening that does not go away
* change in size or shape of your breasts
* an itchy, scaly sore or rash or the nipple
* dimpling or puckering of the skin of your breasts
* pulling in of the nipple or other parts of the breasts
* nipple discharge that starts suddenly
* pain in one spot that does not vary with your monthly cycle
How often should we be tested?
Ages 20-39 – monthly self exams and clinical breast exams every 3 years
Ages 40 and older – mammogram once a year; clinical breast exam once a year; self exam monthly
courtesy of Susan G. Komen for the Cure