Maintaining breast health is of utmost importance. The American Cancer Society’s findings indicate that breast cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer deaths in women in the United States. (American Cancer Society, Cancer Facts and Figures 2007, 2007) Moreover, the highest incidence of breast cancer occurs in women living in North America. ( American Cancer Society, What Are the Key Statistics for Breast Cancer?, 2007) Breast cancer gets a lot of attention because of these statistics, but there are other conditions that you need to be aware. Read on for general information about breast disorders, the importance of early detection and some tips on self-examination. The information presented in this article does not replace the advice of a qualified medical practitioner. It is intended to bring awareness to this area so that you can be motivated to consult a medical professional about regular screenings and preventative health tips.
There are numerous breast disorders to be aware of; so many in fact that we’ll stick to pointing out some major categories. There are a number of breast conditions associated with infections and irritation that are due to hormonal changes and breast-feeding. Mastitis, which is caused by the blockage of milk ducts, is more common than you might think and can lead to pain, fever and abscesses, which would require surgical intervention. Pregnancy can be a beautiful life-changing event, but a woman needs to be conscious of risk factors. Fibrocystic Disease, which is characterized by benign tumours or cysts in the breast, can be disturbing because it can be mistaken for a cancerous variety. Paget's disease of the breast, on the other hand, is malignant (meaning: severe and progressively worsening) and can go relatively unnoticed until very late in its progression because the symptoms don't present themselves as harmful. These disorders all have one thing in common: they can be diminished but require a woman to be conscious of changes to her breast and body.
Early detection is vital to a woman's health and treatment options. It’s important to know that not all breast disorders are malignant. Therefore, if you notice that there have been changes to your breast or nipple shape, discharge, or skin irritation, do not be alarmed: simply report these findings to your doctor. The more in tune you are with your ever-changing body, the better off you'll be in keeping yourself healthy.
Early detection is significantly improved by routine checkups, ever improving technologies to detect cancer and regular self-exams. Prevention by maintaining a healthy lifestyle combined with early detection can help people overcome disease.
Breast Self Examination is a necessary part of your overall health routine and maintenance. We'd like to share a few tips. Practice makes perfect: if you try to do a Breast Self Exam (say) once a month on an easy-to-remember day, you get to know your breasts well and can be more conscious of gradual changes. Try to pick a period of time when your breasts won't normally be swollen or sore (e.g. not near a period).
Also, do a visual inspection of your breasts and take note of scaliness, rashes, nipple discharge and changes in shape and color of your breast and/or nipples. Use a mirror to assist you and consider noting down observations in a journal. Also, do your self exam in a number of positions like standing, sitting and lying down. Use the first few fingers of your hand and use circular motions to inspect the tissue all around your breast, in your armpit, from your collarbone to the top of your tummy. Your best bet would be to get your doctor to show you how they do it.
If you find something unusual while doing a breast exam, don’t panic because there are a lot of conditions out there that are benign (meaning: mild and non-progressive). However, make it a point to get it checked out thoroughly. If you are not a person who has high risk factors for breast cancer, share this message with people that you care about who might be: it might motivate them to live a more consciously healthy lifestyle to try to diminish any risk factors that they might facing.
Also, please check out our article on how to care for your breasts on a day-to-day basis by properly Supporting Your Breasts.