October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and we wanted to share some sobering, new facts as well as ways you can get started to be screened.
This year in the U.S. alone:
- 287,500 estimated new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women
- 51,400 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer will also be diagnosed
- 65% of breast cancer cases get diagnosed at the localized stage (no signs that it has spread outside the breast), translating to a 5-year relative survival rate of 99%
- 43,550 women will die from breast cancer
Start With Self Examination
Proper screening for breast cancer is crucial and it can start with a simple self-examination that you can do anywhere. A breast self-exam and recommended screenings from your healthcare provider can increase your chances of early detection – especially with routine physical exams by a doctor, mammography screenings, and sometimes, ultrasound and/or MRIs. Early detection is essential to increasing the odds of successful treatment. A breast self-exam is an easy, convenient, and no-cost step that can quickly and regularly be done – at any age. CHC recommends that every woman routinely performs breast self-exams as part of their overall breast cancer screening strategies.
Giving yourself a breast self-exam is easier than you might think and we want to share some helpful tips/tools for women and men alike.
What you should be looking for:
Some of the most common breast cancer warning signs can include:
- A new lump in the breast or underarm (armpit) areas
- Thickened or swollen breast tissue (any part)
- Irritation or dimpling of breast skin
- Redness or flaky skin at the nipple area or your breast
- Pulling in (inversing) of the nipple
- Any nipple discharge – other than breast milk, including blood
- Changes in size or the shape f your breast
- Pain or tenderness in the breast
It is possible that these symptoms may appear as a result of other conditions that may not be cancer. To be sure talk to your healthcare provider immediately if you notice any of these symptoms.
Breast Self-Exam Visual Guides
For detailed instructions and help on breast self-exams, for both men and women, please download or print one of the guides listed below:
Breast Self Exam for Men & Women – Female/Male, English (PDF file)
Auto-examen Mamario Para Ella – Mujeres, Español (archivo PDF)
Auto-examen Mamario Para El – Hombres, Español (archivo PDF)
When Should I Get Screened?
Breast cancer screenings check a woman’s breasts for signs of cancer – often before any signs or symptoms start to show. Watch the short video below for a quick overview.
Here’s a list of who should get screened and when (click for in-depth details):
- Women ages 40 to 44 should have the choice to start annual breast cancer screening with mammograms (x-rays of the breast) if they wish to do so.
- Women ages 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year.
- Women 55 and older should switch to mammograms every 2 years or can continue yearly screening.
Click to schedule an appointment with your CHC provider for details on how to get your screening.