It’s that time of year again when we see pink ribbons everywhere. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This is something I talk to women about all year…not just in October. I’d like to share a few tips that I discuss with women in my practice.
1. The purpose of breast exams and mammograms is to find a problem early. Early is good. Early detection of cancer means you have a far better chance of a good outcome.
2. Breast self exams ARE important. You don’t need to be able to identify what you are feeling…you only need to be able to tell if it’s a bump/lump other than your usual lumps and bumps.
3. Some nipple drainage is benign, some is not. Always discuss this with your health care provider.
4. You are never too young to start doing self breast exams.
5. Current recommendations for mammograms is to start at age 40. HOWEVER, if you are a woman with high risk factors, you may be started in your 30’s or even younger.
6. See your health care provider for a clinical breast exam at least annually. Do your self breast exam monthly.
7. Stop smoking, exercise, eat a high fiber diet and maintain a healthy weight. Yes, it really does impact your breast healthy.
Finally… If you are a woman without insurance, visit the OlderWiserWomen ® Breast Health Center for links to programs that offer reduced price/free mammograms. You’ll find other more information about breast health there as well.