At WAXON, we take pride in supporting and educating women by shining a light on important health + wellness topics with the help of experts, organizations, and real-life experiences. In honour of National Breast Cancer Awareness month, we wanted to share some trusted information that we hope will help you feel empowered to talk with your healthcare provider and make decisions that are right for you.
Early detection means finding the cancer before it spreads. Breast cancer cannot be prevented, but early detection provides the greatest possibility of successful treatment. By following these three steps, you will help increase your chance of detecting breast cancer early.
1. BREAST SELF-AWARENESS
Breast self-awareness can help you become familiar with how your breasts normally look and feel. Knowing this will help you identify any changes in your breasts that should be reported to your health care professional promptly. If you find a lump, schedule an appointment with your doctor, but don’t panic – most lumps are not cancer.
Changes to look for include:
You should see your health care provider about any of these symptoms. Often these symptoms are not due to cancer, but if you notice any changes in your body, tell your health care provider immediately so that the problems can be diagnosed and treated.
2. BREAST EXAMINATION
It is recommended that women visit their family physician or gynecologist each year for a breast examination. In addition to a routine pelvic exam and pap smear, the doctor may perform a brief breast exam to check for abnormalities. The breast examination is a great opportunity for you to discuss with your health care provider any questions or concerns you have regarding your breast health. For example, your doctor may help you determine the most appropriate personalized frequency for your early detection steps.
In its early stages, breast cancer doesn’t usually cause symptoms. NBCF recommends that women ages 40 and older get a mammogram every year. A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast. It is a safe way to detect cancerous tumors and other abnormal breast conditions, and women who have screening mammograms have a lower chance of dying from breast cancer than women who do not have screening mammograms. Mammograms can detect cancer or other problems before a lump becomes large enough to be detected by touch. They provide an effective way to find breast cancer in its early stages when treatment is usually the most successful. Mammograms are considered safe, quick, and relatively painless. *
Ensure you are making time for self-care and prioritize your health by maintaining your annual check-ups with your healthcare provider.
*Source: National Breast Cancer Foundation
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