Breast self-awareness - more than just self-exam.
By elaineR.N. on November 01, 2013
There are some things I can be funny about and others NOT. Breast self-exam is one of those things that I find difficult to joke about. Why? Because, doing it saved my friend’s life. And, Laura, the toast here is for you!! You did it…you found it… and you dealt with your breast cancer with dignity, grace and great humor.
Most women know about breast self-exams, along with the importance of early detection of breast cancer to treatment and survival. My purpose here is to be a reminder that you (and me) should experience some kind of regular breast health screening. It is important to note though, that breast self-exams are just one component. However valuable anyone may feel a breast self exam is, the experts, according to the National Institute of Health and Susan G Komen, do not agree that the self exams actually do save lives or help someone find cancer. It seems that a clinical breast exam, or one done by the health care professional, is more valuable in finding suspicious changes. Women, doing their own, tend to be overly concerned about non-pathogenic changes and experience more biopsies than needed.
Susan G Komen has a really helpful breast self-awareness message. Within this, they recommend that a woman should know her breast cancer risk, talk with her health care provider to determine which screenings are right for her and to know her own normal. The point about “know your own normal” is most-definitely not underrated. For example, another friend found her breast cancer by knowing that the lump in her breast was not a known entity. The lump, as it turned out, was a cancerous growth in her milk duct that had pushed up so that there was a breast elevation that rubbed her bra. She saw her doctor immediately to begin her treatments and is doing fantastically!! I found a benign cyst when it rubbed against my bra when I was exercising. That, most certainly, was not my normal. It was removed over 12 years ago with no further problems.
Also of importance, is to make healthy lifestyle choices. That includes maintaining a healthy weight and exercising, amongst other recommendations.
Read the complete article at: http://ww5.komen.org/BreastCancer/GeneralRecommendations.html
When I began writing this blog, I was ready to go whole-heartedly into promoting breast self-exam. However, while researching, I learned that self-awareness better captures the idea that there are many facets to breast cancer screening beyond that. Hope this information promotes better breast health understanding. After all, a healthy breast is a beautiful breast.
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