Women are told to get regular breast exams when they turn 20, 18 even, to find bumps or any possible indication of breast cancer. Unfortunately, we know that there are still a lot who either don’t follow this advice or just do it when they feel it’s necessary. There are also those who might not have access to facilities that offer this procedure.
Breast cancer is common among women worldwide, with millions being diagnosed every year. According to ABC Global Alliance, it’s estimated that there will be 23.6 million new cases per year by 2030. So, in light of Breast Cancer Awareness this October, we’re here to remind you that checking your breast health is important. Allow us to list down some of the methods to ensure that.
“Is it hereditary?”
Not to scare you or anything but genetics is considered a risk factor. BreastCancer.org cites that only five to 10 percent of cases are found to be hereditary. It’s a small percentage but it’s still possible, especially if your mother or any of your relatives have histories of breast cancer. However, this is only possible if the abnormal gene, BRCA1, was passed down to you.
A popular example is Angelina Jolie’s mother who died of breast cancer. After finding out that she inherited the BRCA1 gene, she decided to get a preventative double mastectomy in 2013 to decrease the risk of contracting the disease.
So keep this, as well as other risk factors, in mind if you’re still stubborn about getting a breast exam.
Schedule an appointment
According to WebMD, it’s recommended that you get an exam every one to three years in your 20s, and every year when you reach 40. You can schedule an appointment with your OB-GYNE or plan a mammogram as soon as possible. You can also have it done during your annual physical exam.
“But I’m shy!” Hey, you’re going to a professional and exams only take a couple of minutes of prodding on your breasts. Once you get past the awkwardness, you’ll feel more relaxed during the next exam.
Self-exams are key
Okay, if you don’t want to go to your OB-GYNE yet or just don’t have the time to, you can do the checking at home. The right way to do it is to raise one arm and use your free hand to feel for any lumps from the side to the center of your breasts. The National Breast Cancer Foundation recommends that you do this in the shower or while lying down. It’s also important to look at your breasts in front of a mirror so you can see if there’s anything wrong. Do this once every month, so go add a reminder on your planner. Of course, if you find any anomalies, go to your doctor and have it checked out.
Oh, here’s a video too so you can see how to do self-exams properly.
Live normally and healthily
Don’t let the possibility of getting breast cancer loom over your head and stop you from living normally. SheThinx encourages women to stop their “*ahem* less-than-healthy lifestyle choices” to decrease the risk of breast cancer and also other diseases.
Go find a diet and workout routine that suit your body’s needs. Stop being stingy about vegetables and actually add them to your meals. There are a bunch of little changes you can do with your lifestyle but they’ll surely make a big difference to your overall health.
Art by Marian Hukom
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