October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a reminder to come together as a community and remember those who have battled, survived or lost a loved one to breast cancer. 

It’s also a time to spread awareness about the importance of conducting breast self-exams and clinical exams and to continue to support the strong, resilient women in our lives.

We hope this post will encourage you and loved ones to take necessary, proactive measures like an early prevention clinical screening or a breast self-exam to rule out possible markers or symptoms for breast cancer.

Breast cancer is defined as a disease in which cancer cells typically form in the tissues of the breast. According to the CDC, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women. Additionally, 1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime and about 85 percent of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer.

Early prevention and detection can save a life, which is why it is important to continue to spread awareness about breast cancer and ways we can better educate the community and empower women.

A breast self-exam can be easily done in the shower or in front of a large mirror in less than five minutes. It can be a helpful tool that can alert you to seek care from a physician if something feels off, or if you notice any concerning symptoms. Always set aside some time to examine your breasts and check in with your physical symptoms.

The five steps to conducting a simple breast self-exam include the following suggestions from BreastCancer.org:

  1. Examine your breasts by looking at them in the mirror and checking for any redness, swelling, rash, soreness, or bulging of the skin.
  2. From a different angle, raise your arms so you can get another look at your breasts.
  3. Keep your arms raised and check for any signs of possible fluid discharge from your breasts. 
  4. Lay down comfortably on the bed and use your right hand to feel the left breast, and vice versa. Use a circular motion when conducting this self-exam test on your breasts to check for any abnormalities or swelling. Apply medium to light firm pressure on the breasts. 
  5. You can also try this again and try to stand up or use a sitting motion to examine your breasts using a circular hand motion again. 
  6. It is very important not to ignore any possible symptoms or dismiss any alarming symptoms, either. Keep in mind that everyone is different, and some symptoms might not even show up. This is why it is important to regularly get screened or seen by a physician for a second opinion.

These are just some of the steps for administering your own self-check breast exam. It is important to also have a yearly physical exam with your physician to identify symptoms or any changes in your health.

Some of the possible symptoms of breast cancer may include the following according to the CDC: 

  • a lump in the breast or underarm
  • swelling or irritation of the breast
  • pain in the nipple area
  • discharge around the nipple area
  • any change in size or shape of the breast 
  • pain around the breast area
  • It is imperative that women take the necessary steps to book a clinical breast exam, an ultrasound, or a mammogram that can help detect breast cancer earlier. Women of all ages are encouraged to conduct breast self-exams at least once a month or more.

The American Cancer Society says that a mammogram should be done every year for women ages 45-54 and every 2 years for women 55 and up.

Additionally, the recommendation for clinical breast cancer screenings for women 25 and up is every one to three years and every year starting at age 40. Learn more here. 

Beyond breast cancers, there are a multitude of other cancers that can develop. If your family has a history of skin cancers or would like to take a reconstructive path to prevent skincare, consider speaking with one of our representatives at Aventura Plastic Surgery. 

Aventura Plastic Surgery does MOHS Reconstruction, a specialized procedure and type of skincare treatment where layers of cancerous skin tissue are removed through a surgical technique. Recovery after MOHS reconstruction can take about a week, and the procedure is safe with minimal risk of complications. Learn more about the procedure by booking a consultation with Aventura’s Dr. Galitz, Miami-based plastic surgeon.

When you wear pink this month in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, don’t forget to conduct a breast self-exam before going in for a routine yearly check-up with your physician.