October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and this year marks the 25th anniversary. To celebrate everyone is going pink! Even here in Columbus, OH the building skyline is just glowing pink, literally, to help raise awareness for a worthy cause.
Last year women all over Facebook were updating their status with the color of their bra to spark interest in breast cancer awareness. This year however they are stepping it up with phrases such as “I like it on the kitchen table,” or “I like it on the passenger seat in my car.” The status are in fact stating where the person likes to keep her…you guessed it…purse. Ha! I bet you thought it was something else.
On a more serious note, women in the United States get breast cancer more than any other type of cancer except for skin cancer. It is second only to lung cancer as a cause of cancer death in women. Each year it is estimated that nearly 200,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 will die. It is more important than ever to screen yourself monthly at home. It only take a few minutes and can make a lifetime of difference.
Here are some tips on how to do a breast self-exam:
Step 1 – In the Shower
Fingers flat, move gently over every part of each breast. Use your right hand to examine the left breast, left hand for the right breast. Check for any lump, hard knot, or thickening. Carefully observe any changes in your breasts.
Step 2 – Before a Mirror
Inspect your breasts with your arms at your sides. Next, raise your arms high overhead. Look for any changes in the contour of each breast, a swelling, a dimpling of the skin, or changes in the nipples. Then rest your palms on your hips and press firmly to flex your chest muscles. Left and right breasts will not exactly match—few women’s breasts do.
Step 3 – Lying Down
Place a pillow under your right shoulder and put your right arm behind your head. With the fingers of your left hand flat, press your right breast gently in small circular motions, moving vertically or in a circular pattern covering the entire breast. Use light, medium, and firm pressure. Squeeze the nipple; check for discharge and lumps. Repeat these steps for your left breast.
See your health care provider if you discover any new breast changes.