October Breast Cancer Awarness is an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. While most people are aware of breast cancer, many forget to create a plan for detection of the disease in its early stages.
Signs & Symptoms
Every person should know the symptoms and signs of breast cancer, and all abnormal findings should be investigated by a healthcare professional. Most people will initially notice one or two symptoms or signs, their presence do not automatically indicate breast cancer.
What Is A Breast Cyst?
A cyst in the breast may feel like a lump, but upon examination the lump is a small, generally harmless sac filled with fluid rather than a cancerous or benign lump of cells. You may have one cyst or many cysts that appear together.
Is a Lump A Cyst Or A Tumor?
A healthcare professional can determine whether a lump is a cyst or tumor. A simple ultrasound scan will allow the healthcare professional to see whether the lump appears solid or hollow and filled with fluid. If the lump is fluid-filled, it may require no treatment at all. You may notice that the cyst comes and goes depending on the hormone cycle of menstruation.
Breast pain is any discomfort, tenderness, or pain in the breast or underarm region, and it may occur for a number of reasons. Generally, breast pain is not a sign of breast cancer. Although many women with pain in one or both breasts may be concerned that it is breast cancer, breast pain is NOT commonly a symptom of cancer.
Once a Month
Adult women of all ages are encouraged to perform breast self-exams at least once a month. Johns Hopkins Medical center states, “Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, so establishing a regular breast self-exam is very important.” While mammograms can help you to detect cancer before you can feel a lump, breast self-exams help you to be familiar with how your breasts look and feel so you can alert your healthcare professional if there are any changes
By performing monthly breast self-exams, you will be able to more easily identify any changes in your breast. Be sure to talk to your healthcare professional if you notice anything unusual
Clinical Breast Exams
A clinical breast exam is performed by a healthcare professional who is trained to recognize many different types of abnormalities and warning signs. This in-office exam will most likely be completed by your family physician or gynecologist at your annual exam, whereas your breast self-exam is something every woman should do once a month.
Breast Self-Exams Alone Are Not Enough
Mammography can detect tumors before they can be felt, so screening is key for early detection. But when combined with regular medical care and appropriate guideline-recommended mammography, breast self-exams can help women know what is normal for them so they can report any changes to their healthcare provider.
If you find a lump, schedule an appointment with your doctor, but don't panic — 8 out of 10 lumps are benign. For additional peace of mind, call your doctor whenever you have concerns.
What Is A Mammogram?
A mammogram is an x-ray that allows a qualified specialist to examine the breast tissue for any suspicious areas. The breast is exposed to a small dose of ionizing radiation that produces an image of the breast tissue.
Mammograms can often show a breast lump before it can be felt. They also can show tiny clusters of calcium called microcalcifications. Lumps or specks can be caused by cancer, fatty cells, or other conditions like cysts. Further tests are needed to find out if abnormal cells are present.
Healthy Habits Reduce The Risk Of Breast Cancer:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Stay physically active
- Eat fruits and vegetables
- Do not smoke
- Limit alcohol consumption