Continuing our support of Breast Cancer Awareness month, we at Day-Timer offer the following guidelines for early detection and screening – a major tool in the prevention of the disease.
The facts about screening
Breast cancer screening is the process of checking a woman’s breast for cancer before there are signs or symptoms of the disease. Three main tests are used to screen the breasts for cancer. It is recommended that you speak with your doctor about which tests are right for you, and when you should schedule.
- Mammogram: an X-ray of the breast, and is the best method for detecting breast cancer early when it is more treatable. Having regular mammograms can reduce the risk of dying from breast cancer.
- Clinical breast exam: an examination by a doctor or nurse, who uses his or her hands to feel for lumps or other changes.
- Breast self-exam: when you check your own breasts for lumps, changes in size or shape of the breast, or any other changes in the breasts or underarm (armpit).
Which tests to choose
It is recommended that you schedule regular mammograms. At this time, clinical breast exams and breast self-exams have not been found to decrease risk of dying from breast cancer. If you choose to have clinical breast exams and to perform breast self-exams, be sure you also get regular mammograms.
Know your risk
- Talk to your family to learn about your family health history
- Talk to your provider about your personal risk of breast cancer
Schedule your screenings
- Ask your doctor which screening tests are right for you if you are at a higher risk
- Have a mammogram every year starting at age 40 if you are at average risk
- Have a clinical breast exam at least every 3 years starting at 20, and every year starting at 40
Know what is normal for you
See your health care provider right away if you notice any of these breast changes:
- Lump, hard knot or thickening
- Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening
- Change in the size or shape of the breast
- Dimpling or puckering of the skin
- Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
- Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast
- Nipple discharge that starts suddenly
- New pain in one spot that doesn’t go away
Make healthy lifestyle choices
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Add exercise into your routine
- Limit alcohol intake
For more information on breast cancer screening please contact your doctor. More information is avaliable online about understanding screening at:
Day-Timer supports the Breast Cancer Research Fund, please find out how you can join us.
[photo by stuckincustoms]