The month of October has been earmarked as Breast Cancer Awareness month. There are other kinds of cancer but breast cancer causes more death in women and men, although in men it rarely happens. Breast cancer starts developing from the breast tissue but they give signs before it becomes full-blown cancer. The first sign of breast cancer is usually a lump in the breast. This is why it is advisable to do a self-check on your breast on a regular basis to be able to detect if you have an abnormal mammogram or lump in your breasts.
Early detection is always advisable so here are some possible signs of breast cancer you should look out for
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1. You notice that your nipple discharges which is usually abnormal
2. You notice that the appearance of your breast starts to change
3. Your nipples start to get sensitive; this symptom may also be related to pregnancy
4. You have pains around your breast/chest area
5. You start noticing a lump in the breast or in your armpit
6. Your breast starts getting swollen
7. You start to feel pain in the upper back, neck, and shoulder areas
8. You notice that your breasts start to itch
Be sure to check with a doctor or physician if you notice any of these symptoms above
Breast cancer can however be prevented. Although some patients with breast cancer get them as a result of family history, lifestyle changes can however lower the risks.
How can I reduce my risk of breast cancer?
In order to lower your risk of getting breast cancer, some lifestyle changes need to be adopted. Some of these lifestyle changes include;
Limit alcohol. You have a greater risk of getting breast cancer if you consume a huge amount of alcohol. In order to reduce your risk of getting breast cancer, limit your alcohol intake to less than one drink a day, this is because even small amounts increase risk.
Don’t smoke. Based on research, there is a link between smoking and the risk of getting breast cancer, especially in women that haven’t reached menopause.
Control your weight. Studies have shown that being overweight or obese can increase breast cancer risks. Especially if obesity occurs after menopause.
Be physically active. Physical activity like exercise goes a long way to maintain a healthy lifestyle which in turn helps prevent breast cancer. You should aim to exercise at least 150 minutes a week doing a moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of high-intensity aerobic activity weekly, plus add a bit of strength training at least twice a week.
Control the dose and duration of hormone therapy. Constant combination of hormone therapy for more than three to five years increases the risk of breast cancer. If the aim of hormone therapy is for menopausal symptoms, ask your doctor about other options.
Avoid exposure to radiation and environmental pollution. There are certain medical-imaging methods that use high doses of radiation. Some research suggested that there is a link between breast cancer constant exposure to radiation over your lifetime.
How to Self Examine Yourself For Breast Cancer
Going for mammograms is considered to be the best option to help detect cancer before you can feel a lump, but breast self-exams also help you to know exactly how your breasts look and feel so you can quickly let your healthcare professional know if there are any changes.
How Should A Breast Self-Exam Be Performed?
1) In the Shower
Take 3 of your middle fingers to check the whole breast and armpit area by pressing down from light to more firm pressure. Check both breasts at least once a month for lumps or any other breast changes.
2) In Front of a Mirror
While in front of the mirror raise your arms high over your head. Look for any changes on your breasts or nipples by flexing your chest muscles. Left and right breasts will not exactly match—few women’s breasts do, so look for any dimpling, puckering, or changes, particularly on one side.
3) Lying Down
Lie down facing up and our one arm behind your head. Use the other hand nd feel under the breast area and armpits to check for lumps. Squeeze the nipples to check also for any discharge. Do the same on the other breast.