Each year, October serves as Breast Cancer Awareness month. During this time, pink ribbons are distributed, companies display their support for the cause, races are hosted in cities and promotional messages for breast cancer awareness are put in place by supporting businesses.
According to the Susan G. Komen website, it is estimated that there will be 232,340 new cases of invasive breast cancer in 2013. There is also an estimated 39,620 breast cancers death.
One in every eight woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, while this diagnosis occurs every three minutes. This cancer is the second only to lung cancer in cancer deaths among women.
In order for necessary action to be taken when one is diagnosed with breast cancer, a woman must take action for early detection. Early detection of breast cancer allows for proper treatment to be taken.
The most common symptoms of breast cancer are changes in the look or feel of the breast, a change in the look or feel of the nipple and nipple discharge. Other symptoms include a lump, hard knot or thickening inside the underarm of the breast; swelling, warmth, redness or darkening of the breast; change in the shape or size of the breast; or new pain in one spot of the breast that does not go away. You should always consult a physician if you notice any irregularities in your breasts.
Women should always perform self-breast exams at least once a month. While mammograms can help you detect cancer before you can feel a lump, these self- exams allow you to become familiar with how your breasts look and feel so you can alert your healthcare professional if you notice any changes.
Mammograms should be performed annually for women and should begin around the age of 40. Mammograms allow physicians to see X-rays of your breast tissue from two different angles to identify dense masses of tissue or clusters of calcium.
Women must be aware of the changes in their breast and perform their self-exams monthly, as well as their mammograms annually in order to detect breast cancer. The sooner the cancer is detected, the more treatment options are available for patients.