October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month for women AND men. Though you typically see the color pink during the month, the annual awareness program is designed to bring awareness about the disease and educate on the importance of early detection.
Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers among women - but men can get it also. Men can also get gynecomastia, a benign swelling of the breast tissue.
Check your breasts every month for lumps or changes.
Have a clinical exam every year. Instead of having your clinical and mammogram scheduled at the same time, think about separating the two. For example, have your clinical exam in January and your mammogram in July. This way you have your breasts checked professionally every six months instead of once a year. Our goal is to detect issues at the earliest point and this method helps to insure early detection.
Have a mammogram every year, starting at age 40. If your mother had breast cancer at an early age, start your mammogram ten years earlier than her detection age.
Know the signs and symptoms of breast cancer. If your son or daughter tells you they found something, check it out. Don’t let a doctor tell you that your child is too young to have breast cancer and let it go. An eight year old child was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Everyone who has a breast is at risk for breast cancer.
I’ve been a breast imager for a long time and have seen a lot of changes during my career. Helping women and men with their healthcare has been a fulfilling career. A question I routinely get from someone getting their first mammogram is “Is it going to hurt?”. It depends on a lot of factors but most people say it’s more of a discomfort than pain. The few seconds of discomfort during a mammogram is well worth peace of mind in my book.
So take care of yourself, be healthy!