Because October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we have put together a mini guide to help educate you on your personal risk for breast cancer, and signs and symptoms to look out for. Knowledge is power, and the better educated you are on what to look for, the better your chance of early detection.
Assessing Your Risk
There are a number of risk factors that women should be aware of when it comes to developing breast cancer. If you answer “yes” to any of the following risk factors, you should talk to your doctor about genetic counseling, or if genetic testing is right for you.
Are a woman aged 40 or older
Have been previously diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer
Have a mother/sister/daughter who has had breast cancer
Have a mother/sister/daughter who has tested positive for the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene
Have personally tested positive for the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene
Signs and Symptoms
Sometimes the symptoms of breast cancer are not noticeable without a mammogram or an ultrasound. However, there are some symptoms that may be able to be felt through a self-exam. Signs to look out for include a lump in or around the breast area or in the underarm area, changes in size or shape of the breast, dimpling of the skin of the breast, discharge from the nipple, and swollen, red, or scaly skin on the breast or nipple.
If you notice any of these changes in one or both breasts, contact your doctor to schedule an appointment. While most lumps are not breast cancer, it is important to be proactive when it comes to your health to help catch any issues early on. The earlier breast cancer is caught, the better the chance of a successful treatment.
If you are interested in learning more about breast health and breast cancer signs and symptoms to be aware of, visit www.nationalbreastcancer.org.