When October rolls around each year, pink stuff starts popping up everywhere. Sporting events often dedicate a competition night to breast cancer awareness, and fans wear pink to support their teams. Another common thing that occurs is bake sales, t-shirt sales, and games where the profit will go to support the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. The pink ribbon is the universal symbol for the disease.
October can also bring a kind of fright to some women in the realization that breast cancer could happen to anyone. Self-exams are one of the things that can tame that fright or could help catch something early. The upcoming steps are not scientifically proven to diagnose breast cancer but they can put one in the right direction to get further insight.
Step one is to look in the mirror with shoulders back and arms to the side. Look at the breasts to see if they have changed in any shape, color, or usual size. Any indication of dimpling, swelling, redness, or rash is worthy of a doctor’s attention. The areola should be normally positioned and not inverted. Next, raise the arms above the head and look for the signs stated above. Also, be aware of any fluid secreting from the nipples.
For the most common known step, feel around the breasts for anything unusual. These could be lumps, dimples, or anything else that might be worrisome. Be sure to cover the whole breast when examining. Start with light pressure in spots that are sensitive but then move up to a medium or high pressure where to feel the deep tissue. Lumps can mean a lot of things. If there is a lump, don’t panic. Many women have natural lumps or lumpy areas in their breasts. Do not hesitate to call a doctor if you come upon a lump in your breasts and stay optimistic.
Starting at the age of 20 and going on until about 39 years old is when a person should start consciously thinking about this disease. At this age, get professional exams from a doctor about every three years. At age 40, start getting annual mammograms but still complete the steps above.
A lot of this can be overwhelming but thankfully there are so many resources at hand to reach out to for help. Here on the Boone Campus, don’t be shy about going to Lori Zahnd, our campus health specialist, for any questions or concerns.
Be sure to dig through the closet to find the pinkest shirt to support the DMACC Volleyball team and the research for cancer tonight as the Lady Bears host Indian Hills for their Breast Cancer Awareness night.