October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And yes, educating women about breast health is of utmost important. Don’t leave men out of the equation, though. Not only are they impacted when the women in their lives have breast cancer, but they, too, can develop breast cancer.
Per BreastCancer.org, “Less than 1% of all breast cancers occur in men. In 2014, about 2,360 men are expected to be diagnosed with the disease. For men, the lifetime risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000.” Stats for women — 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.
In our opinion, even one case is too many. So we’re sharing some information to help both men and women in the fight against breast cancer. So here’s a happier fact: When breast cancer is detected early (localized stage), the 5-year survival rate is 98%.
We’ve all heard it before — performing a monthly breast exam is important. Lest you’ve forgotten your options in this department, we’re sharing the following:
How should a breast self-exam be performed?
1) In the Shower
Using the pads of your fingers, move around your entire breast in a circular pattern moving from the outside to the center, checking the entire breast and armpit area. Check both breasts each month feeling for any lump, thickening, or hardened knot. Notice any changes and get lumps evaluated by your healthcare provider.
2) In Front of a Mirror
Visually inspect your breasts with your arms at your sides. Next, raise your arms high overhead.
Look for any changes in the contour, any swelling, or dimpling of the skin, or changes in the nipples. Next, 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, so look for any dimpling, puckering, or changes, particularly on one side.
3) Lying Down
When lying down, the breast tissue spreads out evenly along the chest wall. Place a pillow under your right shoulder and your right arm behind your head. Using your left hand, move the pads of your fingers around your right breast gently in small circular motions covering the entire breast area and armpit.
Use light, medium, and firm pressure. Squeeze the nipple; check for discharge and lumps. Repeat these steps for your left breast.