You have breast cancer.
1 in 8 women will hear those words at some point in her life. While it’s not perfect, we know that getting a regular mammogram is the very best way to detect breast cancer in it earliest and most survivable stages.
The San Diego Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure recommends that women engage in these four steps below to make sure they are knowledgeable about breast cancer and what each individual can do to help prevent it:
- Talk to your family. There is still hesitancy in many families to talk about personal health issues, especially where “female cancers” such as breast, endometrial and ovarian cancer are concerned. But studies have connected shared genetic components between breast cancer and other cancers that may be useful in understanding your risk of contracting the disease. Providing your doctor with your family health history may lead to a better understanding of your personal risk.
- Get screened. Your doctor will determine what screening tests are right for you. For women of “average risk” clinical breast exams should begin at age 20 and be repeated every three years. Annual mammograms should begin at age 40. For higher risk women, additional screenings such as an MRI may be recommended by your health care provider. If you or any of your friends can not afford a mammogram call 2-1-1.
- Know what is normal for you. Any visible or palpable changes to your breasts should be reported to your doctor. These changes include: a lump, hard knot or thickening; swelling, warmth, redness or darkening; a change in the size or shape of the breast, dimpling or puckering of the skin; itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple; pulling in of the nipple or other part of the breast; nipple discharge that starts suddenly; new pain in one spot that does not go away.
- Make healthy lifestyle choices. Studies and scientific literature purport that maintaining a healthy weight, adding exercise to your routine, and limiting alcohol intake may all reduce the risk of breast cancer.
Having a breast cancer diagnosis can be devastating and scary, but it’s even more so for those facing a battle without proper insurance and support. Susan G. Komen for the Cure is dedicated to raising funds to provide uninsured women access to life saving breast cancer treatments and services. Spa Gregorie’s has been a sponsor and supporter of Komen for the Cure for more than a decade. Get involved today and show your support in the fight against breast cancer.