Breast Cancer Intervention: Live Videos and Helpful Tips for Self-Exams, Early Detections, and Overall Breast Health
By design, "breast cancer awareness" month highlights the importance of breast health and early detection, using tools such as breast self-exams. And what better segue into self-exams than reinforcing the message of breast health and self-care? We chose this featured blog topic since early detection can literally save your life! Statistically, breast cancer is the second most lethal cancer in women in the United States, and one in eight women will develop invasive breast cancer over her lifetime. The great news is that breast cancer death rates are on a downswing; the US has been steadily declining about 2% per year, current SEER data from 2014 through 2018. This decline will only get better as more women stay proactive!
WHAT EXACTLY IS BREAST CANCER?
While breast self-exams are vitally important, it's also helpful to understand what breast cancer is exactly. There's absorbance of news available online. Despite all of the hype, cancer is never a pleasant topic, especially if you know someone dealing with cancer or recovering from it. Breast Cancer is like "the elephant in the room" that you try to avoid at all costs. But, just in case you have forgotten, breast cancer is when cells in your breast grow and divide uncontrolled, creating a mass of tissue called a tumor. Signs of breast cancer can include such things as feeling a lump in your breast, experiencing a change in your breast size, and seeing changes to the skin on your breasts. There are different kinds of breast cancer, and the type of breast cancer depends on which cells in the breast turn into cancer. The good news is that mammograms can help with early detection, which saves lives!
The most common kinds of breast cancer are:
· Invasive ductal carcinoma. The cancer cells begin in the ducts and then grow outside the ducts into other parts of the breast tissue. Invasive cancer cells can also spread, or metastasize, to other parts of the body.
· Invasive lobular carcinoma. Cancer cells begin in the lobules and then spread from the lobules to the breast tissues that are nearby. These invasive cancer cells can also spread to other parts of the body.
Breast cancer can begin in three main parts of the breast:
· The lobules are the glands that produce milk.
· The ducts are tubes that carry milk to the nipple.
· The connective tissue (which consists of fibrous and fatty tissue) surrounds and holds everything together.
Most breast cancers begin in the ducts or lobules. Breast cancer can spread outside the breast through blood vessels and lymph vessels. When breast cancer spreads to other parts of the body, it is said to have metastasized.
Self-exam is a step-by-step method women can use to examine their breasts. By looking at and feeling your breasts regularly, you'll be able to detect anything that seems abnormal. A simple monthly breast self-exams can help you detect changes that may be signs of infection or breast cancer (such as breast lumps or spots that feel different). And in the "breast cancer world", early detection equates to better chances of survival! Self-exams are important for overall breast health but should not replace exams and screening tests (such as mammograms) recommended by doctors. You should still see your primary care provider and/or gynecologist regularly. If you are still having a regular period, then perform a self-exam after your period. Women who have stopped menstruating and those who have irregular periods can pick a day each month. Maybe choose a day that is consistent and easy to remember and schedule it in your calendar.
Here are a few helpful videos we've chosen for your breast health; breast self-exam and early detection.
Although it's easy to find breast cancer information online and in the news -- what about all of the misleading facts about breast cancer?
Here are a few myths to debunk, 'A mammogram will cause a tumor to spread' (totally false). Mammograms are an essential screening tool for women and should not be avoided. Another myth to debunk is 'You will raise your cancer risk if you shave your underarms or use antiperspirant' (also false). Neither of these will cause breast cancer.
Always try to use reliable and truth-based resources, especially while navigating through serious topics such as breast cancer; it may help to eliminate any so-called 'rumors' or 'myths.'