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Why Early Detection Matters: The Significance of Breast Cancer Checks during Breast Cancer Awareness

It's October! When you think of October you might think about Halloween, the fall foliage, and Pumpkin Flavored Treats. But one thing that may not automatically come to mind is Breast Cancer Awareness. But chances are at some point you will interact with a Breast Cancer Awareness Foundation or fundraiser at some point this month (even if it's only the pink pizza boxes from your local pizza place).

But why is Breast Cancer Awareness so important? Breast Cancer is the second most common form of cancer in the US behind skin cancer. About 1 in 8 women will develop Breast Cancer in their lifetime. The good news is that deaths from Breast Cancer have been on the decline since 1989. Much of this is being attributed to early detection.

One measure to take for early detection is to get regular mammograms starting at age 40. Women of all ages can do is a breast self-exam once a month.

Here are some basic tips for doing a breast self-exam

Step 1: *Start Standing* Examine your breasts in the mirror and look for any abnormalities like dimpling or inverted nipples. Do this with your hands on your hips as well as with your arms raised

Step 2: Look for signs of fluid coming from the nipples (milky, yellow, etc.)

Step 3: Feel for lumps using the pads of your fingers. You can begin at the nipple, moving in larger and larger circles until you reach the outer edge of the breast.

Step 4: Repeat Step 3 but laying down.

The best time to do your monthly breast self-exam is 3-5 days after your period starts. Doing a self-exam monthly as well as getting your annual mammogram

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