Every October, we do everything we can to help spread awareness of breast cancer. After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer that women in the United States face. No matter where you live or what your ethnicity is, breast cancer has probably affected someone you care about. Because it is so dangerous and so common, it is important to educate ourselves. The more we know, the better prepared we can be.
In this blog entry, ParkDIA has gathered a variety of information that can help you and the women in your life recognize the symptoms of breast cancer, how and when to get checked, and how you can donate to organizations that are doing important research and helping cancer patients and their families.
Familiarize Yourself With the Symptoms
There are many symptoms associated with breast cancer, some of which may be easy to ignore. If you notice any of these symptoms during a monthly breast exam, contact your doctor.
- Tender nipples
- Lumps/thickening of a breast or in the underarm area
- Enlargement of pores on the breast
- Any unexpected/unexplainable changes in the size of a breast
- Swelling of a breast — this is especially important if the swelling occurs only on one side
- Shrinkage of a breast — this is especially important if the shrinking occurs only on one side
- Recently developed breast asymmetry (asymmetry itself is common, but if asymmetry develops out of nowhere, you should see a doctor right away)
- A nipple inverts or turns inward slightly
- Scaly, red, swollen, ridged, or pitted skin anywhere on the areola, nipple, or breast
- Any discharge from the nipple, especially clear or bloody discharges
If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment. Many of the symptoms mentioned above can be caused by other issues that are not related to cancer, so instead of worrying, schedule an appointment with your doctor.
Unfortunately, the lack of symptoms does not mean that a person is cancer-free. In the next section of this blog entry, we will talk about when you should get checked for cancer.
The question of when to get checked is pretty simple — whenever you notice that something has changed. While certain symptoms, lumps, and changes in breast size do not automatically mean that someone has breast cancer, they can be a warning sign. If there is a history of breast cancer in your family, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor about early screenings.
Cancer research is always changing, improving, and adapting, so traditional wisdom about certain screening procedures may have changed more recently than you think. Make sure that you have a doctor with whom you feel comfortable, and that they are dedicated to staying informed about the newest research, detection, and treatment methods. It is great to ask as many questions as you can — this is your health and your body and you shouldn’t feel ashamed to be in control.
Donate To Help Find a Cure
If you can, donate money to any of the great organizations out there who are helping with breast cancer research, treatment, and organizations that help people who are undergoing treatment. Whether you want to donate money to a national organization like the National Breast Cancer Foundation, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, or the Dr. Susan Love Foundation, or you want to donate your time driving people to doctor’s appointments or helping them in other ways, doing anything will make a difference in at least one person’s life.
Thank you for reading today’s blog. While October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, cancer can rear its head at any time, so make sure that you and the people you care about are checking themselves and going to regular appointments with their doctor.
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