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  • Women of Every Age Should Check for Breast Cancer

    1 posts, 1 voices, 612 views, started Jun 10, 2009

    Posted on Wednesday, June 10, 2009 by Denise Richardson

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    • Diamond
      Offline
      Ambassador

      How to check for breast cancer is a subject of concern for many women.  With breast cancer remaining the second deadliest form of cancer among women, early detection and treatment is extremely vital.  

      Early breast cancer detection has resulted in lower death rates

      While incidences of breast cancer have risen in recent years, death rates have been on a steady decline since 1990, due to early detection and treatment.  This represents a tremendous ray of hope for women of all ages, races and nationalities since breast cancer can strike at any time.  

      And it further emphasizes the importance of early detection.

      So how do we check for breast cancer?

      There are three basic steps all women can take; self exam, a doctor's exam and a regular mammogram.  With those three simple tools, used correctly, it is possible to catch breast cancer at its earliest possible stage, making treatment much easier and with a much greater likelihood of success.  

      Self exams should be done monthly from the age of 20

      Self exams should be done once a month from age 20 on, usually a few days after your period when breast tissue is less sensitive.  Begin each self exam by looking at your breasts in the mirror to see if there are any visible changes.  

      Self exams can either be done standing up (many women prefer to do them while in the shower) or lying down.  In either case, you should raise your arm above your head and then check the breast on that side.

      How to examine your breasts for lumps

      When performing a self exam, it is important to use the pads of your first three fingers and move in a circular pattern, from the outer edge in toward your nipple.  Repeat the process with your other breast and end each exam by gently squeezing the nipple to see if there is any discharge.  

      When considering how to check for breast cancer, it is important that you take in the entire breast area up to the collarbone and out to the armpits as there are lymph nodes in this entire area which can also be affected.

      You should also have your breasts checked by your doctor

      It is also important to have your doctor check your breasts every one or two years from age 20 on.  Now matter how careful and thorough you may be with your self exams, it is always possible for you to miss something.  While self exams are extremely important as a first line of defence, a doctor's exam can help to fill in the gaps and give you peace of mind.  

      Regular mammograms are a must for women over 40

      Finally, the most important step in detecting breast cancer is to have regular mammograms.  Women 40 and over should have a mammogram every one or two years. If you have risk factors for breast cancer, such as a genetic predisposition, your doctor may recommend that you have mammograms more often or start having them before you reach 40.  

      Breast cancer is not a death sentence

      Breast cancer can be a frightening prospect, but the good news is that it doesn't have to be a death sentence.  With early detection, we are now much better equipped to catch and stop breast cancer at its initial stages.  

      For your own sake and for those you love, make sure you get checked regularly...it could make all the difference in your life.



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