Southern Mom Loves: Breast Cancer Awareness Month: The Importance of Breast Self-Exams and How to Do Them

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: The Importance of Breast Self-Exams and How to Do Them

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Many people know at least one person who has had or been affected by breast cancer. While you may do everything you can to support breast cancer awareness are you taking the time to protect yourself? When caught early, breast cancer can be treated. This means that a simple self-breast exam each month could save your life. Let's talk about the important of the breast self-exam and how to do one.

About 1 in 8 U.S. women will develop breast cancer. It's a scary statistic, but early detection and the treatments that are available can save your life. My mother and grandmother both had breast cancer, but caught it early and survived it. Since breast cancer runs in my family, I know the likelihood I'll develop it is high, so breast self-exams along with yearly doctor's visits are imperative.

The Importance of the Breast Self-Exam

Think of cancer as a weed in your garden. If left unattended that one weed can grow into hundreds. The same can be said for cancer cells. When not caught early enough, breast cancer can spread cancer cells throughout the body. This is why it is so important to do a breast self-exam each and every month. 

You may get a breast exam done once a year during a yearly checkup, but that isn't enough to catch breast cancer early. When you do a breast self-exam, you learn what the tissue and fat in your breasts feel like and can detect any changes. When you do the exam each month, it's easier to detect anything that may be different. Should you detect anything different, you want to contact your doctor immediately.

How to Do a Breast Self-Exam

breast self-exam is very easy to do. It is recommended that you do your exam in the shower. Start with your left breast and begin by putting your arm up over your head and bending it behind your head. This motion lifts the breast and gives you better access. Start at the top of your breast and use your forefinger and middle finger to make a circular motion. Rub the breast tissue and continue until you've made a complete circle around your breast and have checked all the breast tissue. Do the same to your right breast.

You also want to look for any skin changes. If you see that the skin has changed color or has rough patches of skin, this should be brought to your doctor's attention. This process takes less than five minutes but could save your life.

Spending just five minutes a month could mean the difference between life and death. You want to make sure you're doing a self breast exam each and every month. It allows you to detect changes in the breast tissue early and get the help you need before it's too late.


Do you have a friend or family member who's had breast cancer? Do you do breast self-exams? I love to read your comments!

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