What is Breast Cancer:
Cancer is a group of diseases that cause cells in the body to change and grow out of control. Breast cancer begins in the breast tissue that is made up of glands for milk production, called lobules and the ducts that connect the lobules. The remainder of the breast is made up of fatty connective and lymphatic tissue.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer:
Breast cancer typically produces no symptoms when the tumor is small and most easily cured. Therefore it is very important for women to follow recommended screening guidelines for detecting breast cancer at an early stage.
The Importance of Finding Breast Cancer Early:
Most doctors feel that early detection tests for breast cancer save thousands of lives each year, and that many more lives could be saved if even more women and their health care providers took advantage of these tests. Following the American Cancer Society’s guidelines for the early detection of breast cancer improves the chances that breast cancer can be diagnosed at an early stage and treated successfully.
- Yearly mammograms are recommended starting at age 40 and continuing for as long as a woman is in good health.
- Clinical breast exam (CBE) about every 3 years for women in their 20s and 30s and every year for women 40 and over.
- Women should know how their breasts normally look and feel and report any breast change promptly to their health care provider. Breast self-exam (BSE) is an option for women starting in their 20s.
Some women – because of their family history, a genetic tendency, or certain other factors – should be screened with MRI in addition to mammograms. (The number of women who fall into this category is small: less than 2% of all the women in the US.) Talk with your doctor about your history and whether you should have additional tests at an earlier age.
What Happens when the Cancer has Grown:
When cancer has grown to the size it can be felt the most common physical sign is a lump that is painless. Sometimes breast cancer can spread to the underarm lymph nodes and cause a lump or swelling even before the original breast tumor is detected. If you have any persistent abnormality or changes to the breast you should be evaluated by a physician as soon as possible.
Personal and Family History:
Women as well as men with a family history of breast cancer, especially if it is a first- degree relative (mother, sister, daughter, father or brother) are at an increased risk of development breast cancer, this risk is higher if more than one first-degree relative developed breast cancer. Compared to women without a family history, risk of breast cancer is 1.8 times higher for women with one first-degree female relative who has been diagnosed nearly 3 times higher for women with two relatives and nearly 4 times higher for women with three or more relatives.
How Should a Breast Self-Exam be Performed?
1. In the Shower:
Using the pads of your fingers, move around your entire breast in a circular pattern moving from the outside to the center, checking the entire breast and armpit area. Check both breasts each month feeling for any lump, thickening, or hardened knot. Notice any changes and get lumps evaluated by your healthcare provider.
2. In Front of a Mirror:
Visually inspect your breasts with your arms at your sides. Next, raise your arms high overhead. Look for any changes in the contour, any swelling, or dimpling of the skin, or any other changes. Next, rest your palms on your hips and press firmly to flex your chest muscles. Left and right breasts will not exactly match—few women’s breasts do, so look for any dimpling, puckering, or changes, particularly on one side.
3. Lying Down
When lying down, the breast tissue spreads out evenly along the chest wall. Place a pillow under your right shoulder and your right arm behind your head. Using your left hand, move the pads of your fingers around your right breast gently in small circular motions covering the entire breast area and armpit. Use light, medium, and firm pressure. Squeeze the nipple; check for discharge and lumps. Repeat these steps for your left breast.
Points to Remember:
- Statistics are estimates that describe trends in large numbers of people. Statistics cannot be used to predict what will actually happen to an individual.
- Survival statistics for different cancer types, stages of cancer, age groups, or time periods can vary dramatically. People are encouraged to ask their doctor for the most appropriate statistics based on their individual medical condition.
- As with any medical information, ask your doctor for clarification if cancer-related statistics seem unclear.
Each year Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Network Realty participates in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, this year on October 25, 2014 the company will participate again supporting the foundation American Cancer Society and Lee National Denim Day. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices St. Augustine office participates yearly in the Think Pink Event in support of breast cancer awareness.
About Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Florida Network Realty:
Since 1988, Founder, President and CEO Linda H. Sherrer has led a team of more than 300 real estate professionals in eight branch offices in the buying and selling of residential property throughout Northeast Florida. The company also operates a corporate REO and relocation division, builder sales and marketing division, a title company, a referral company and is in mortgage partnership with EverBank. During the past decade, the company has sold more than 31,000 homes valued at more than $8.5 billion.
For more information about Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Network Realty, please visit www.BerkshireHathawayhsfnr.com or call (904) 296-6400.
Sources: American Caner Society, Cancer.com, National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc.