October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which helps raise awareness about this disease. About 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their life. It is the second most common kind of cancer in women, after skin cancer. It is also the second leading cause of death among women. Although breast cancer in men is rare, an estimated 2,150 men are diagnosed each year.
While most people know what breast cancer is, many do not take preventative measures against the disease. Many women can survive breast cancer if it is found and treated early. So how can you check for breast cancer?
Step 1: Begin by looking at your breasts in the mirror with your shoulders straight and your arms on your hips. You’re making sure that: breasts are their usual size, shape and color and that they are evenly shaped without visible distortion or swelling
Step 2: Raise your arms and look for the same changes.
Step 3: While you’re in front of the mirror, look for any signs of fluid coming out of one or both nipples (this could be watery, milky, yellow fluid or blood).
Step 4: Check your breast while laying down. Use your right hand to feel your left breast and vice versa. Use a circular motion, about the size of a quarter, and keep your fingers flat and together. Cover the entire breast from top to bottom, side to side. Make sure you follow a pattern to be sure that you cover the whole breast.
Step 5: Feel your breast while you’re standing or sitting. Many women choose to do this while they are in the shower. Cover your entire breast, just like what was described in step 4.
You should follow these steps once a month to check for breast cancer at home. But, there is also another way to combat breast cancer. A mammogram, which is a screening test for breast cancer, is a great way to find breast cancer early on. It is a low-dose x-ray exam of the breasts to look for changes that are not normal. This is done by your doctor and allows him/her to have a closer look for changes in breast tissue that cannot be felt during an at-home breast exam. You can also create an early detection plan that allows you to receive reminds to do your monthly breast self- exams and to schedule your clinical breast exams and mammograms.
Ways to reduce your risk of breast cancer:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Stay physically active
- Eat fruit and vegetables
- Don’t smoke
- Limit alcohol consumption
So what is this month all about? Awareness. Know the facts about breast cancer and how to prevent it. Know your family history. Know that you can talk to your friends, family and doctor about breast cancer. Encourage your friends and family to get mammograms and to do self-exams once a month. Wear pink this month to show your support for breast cancer. Donate your time and possibly your money to charities and participate in walks and other events that help to raise breast cancer awareness.
If you know about your family history, you can also help yourself by making sure you have great health insurance to help you get your check-ups and help that you need to prevent breast cancer. We understand that it can be a scary thing to go through and that it can also be costly. Make sure you’re covered. Another thing to think about it life insurance. If there is a history of breast cancer in your family you want to be well aware of that, and you also want to make sure you and your family is prepared. For more information on this topic or to discuss your insurance needs, please contact us at 888.304.6678 or visit our virtual insurance office.