You may be seeing an abundance of pink lately; that is because October is breast cancer awareness month. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women in the United States.
Breast exams are extremely useful in detecting cancer early. Clinical exams, breast self-exams (BSEs) and mammograms should be completed regularly so that it’s possible to determine if there are changes in breast tissue, indicating breast cancer or other potentially harmful conditions.
The American Cancer Society recommends clinical breast exams every three years for women between 20 and 40, and annually for women 40 and older. Starting at age 45, healthy women should have yearly mammograms. In between these exams, it is important to complete self-exams so that changes can be detected as early as possible. The following steps are recommended for conducting a BSE:
- Lie down and place one arm behind your head.
- Use the pads of your middle three fingers on the opposite hand to check your breast tissue in overlapping, dime-sized circular motions.
- Use an up-and-down pattern starting at your underarm and moving all the way to the middle of your breastbone to feel for changes.
- Standing with your hands on your hips, look in a mirror for changes in size, shape, contour or coloring of your breasts.
Contact your doctor if you notice any of the following changes to your breast or nipple tissue while doing a BSE:
- Dimpling, red or scaly skin
- Nipple discharge or pain
Help provide awareness of prominent diseases by offering a workplace wellness program that encourages your employees to learn how to prevent illness, stay healthy and improve productivity. For more information on implementing a wellness program at your organization, visit AssuredPartners Wellness.