Here’s a five-step prescription to help protect yourself every month — SHARE IT WITH YOUR SISTERS.
1. Know your family history. If there’s a lot of breast cancer in you’re family, then you’re likely at higher risk for the disease. You should know who was diagnosed at what age and on what side of the family. If you don’t know your family history, you don’t know if you should be getting MRIs every year. Cancer Australia also has a Calculate Your Risk tool on its site which will help you to gain a good understanding of your level of risk for breast cancer compared to another woman of your age group.
2. Know your normal. If you don’t know the normal architecture of your breast, you won’t know when to speak up if something has changed. Take a look and feel ASAP, and get to know them well. Another part of knowing what’s normal is knowing where your breast tissue is—it goes all the way up to your collar bone.
3. Know what the signs and symptoms are. You obviously need to understand what a cancer would feel like. Typical cancers feel like a really hard, firm nodule—it feels like a frozen pea. You could also have nipple discharge, but we’re most worried about a lump—and if that lump hasn’t gone away with your cycle. If you’ve felt your normal breast, then when you do feel them again, you know what you’re looking for. And any doubts, make an appointment to see your doctor.
4. Know the risk factors. There are things you can do lifestyle-wise, like maintaining a healthy body weight, lowering fat intake, increasing exercise, and limiting alcohol intake. They are well-known to reduce the risk of breast cancer.
5. Make a yearly date with your doctor. As well as you knowing the signs of cancer, you knowing your family history, it’s also great back-up to have a check-up with your doctor every year.