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Be pro-active against Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer Awareness Month helps us remember how important it is to be pro-active against breast cancer. Dedicating ourselves to a monthly self-breast exam and yearly mammogram are important to all women.

We ladies will agree that our breasts are special to us. They’re our “Girls” and frequent focus of attention beginning with our very first bra. How many times have we asked: Are they too small? Are they too big? Does this dress show too much cleavage…or not enough? Sure, breasts were created for function, but form and aesthetics certainly have played a big part in the whole picture. We’ve grown attached to our Girls, but do we take care of them the way we should?

The National Breast Cancer Awareness Month program

For over twenty years, the focus of Breast Cancer Awareness Month has been on early detection through self-breast exams and annual mammograms. In addition, Breast Cancer Awareness Month stresses strict adherence to physician prescribed treatment and staying on top of facts about recurrence.

Gals, the facts don’t lie

According to the American Cancer Society, new cases of breast cancer in the United States for the year 2007 were estimated to be 178,480 (female); 2,030 (male). (Yes, though it’s rare, our men can get breast cancer too.) Breast Cancer can become a frightening reality in anyone’s life, women and men alike. For this reason, it’s important to stay pro-active.

But, there’s good news too

Since the first National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in1985, mammography rates have more than doubled and breast cancer deaths have declined. Mammograms have been shown to lower the risk of dying from breast cancer by 35% in women over age 50. Studies also suggest mammograms may lower the risk of breast cancer deaths in women between 40 and 50 by 25-35%. These results have given the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, and the American College of Radiology reason to recommend annual mammograms for women over 40.

Self-breast exam

The first line of defense in early breast cancer detection should start at age 20 with the self-breast examine. It’s important that we familiarize ourselves with the procedure and perform it the same time each month.Most lumps aren’t cancerous. Still, according to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a health care provider should be seen right away for any of these breast changes:* Lump, hard knot or thickening* Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening* Change in the size or shape of the breast* Dimpling or puckering of the skin* Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple * Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast* Nipple discharge that starts suddenly* New pain in one spot that doesn’t go awaySo, let’s show our Girls we love them by practicing Breast Cancer Awareness Month not just in October, but every month of the year. It really does make a difference in early detection and breast cancer survival.

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