In case you haven't noticed the influx of pink over the past several days, it's Breast Cancer Awareness month throughout October. While it's a fantastic time to celebrate survivors and honor those we've lost to the disease, it's also the perfect time to remind you of the essentials for screening and early detection. For many, early detection saves lives.
"I felt a lump," is a common phrase in the breast cancer world. But there are many others symptoms or warning signs you can watch for. Here is a quick list, courtesy the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- New lump in the breast or underarm (armpit).
- Thickening or swelling of part of the breast.
- Irritation or dimpling of breast skin.
- Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast.
- Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area.
- Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood.
- Any change in the size or the shape of the breast.
- Pain in any area of the breast.
If you experience any of these signs or symptoms schedule an appointment with your physician as soon as possible. And regardless of whether these signs show up, it's also important to ensure you're getting regular screening via mammography. Most medical professionals, including the American Cancer Society, recommend annual mammograms beginning at age 40. Women with a higher risk for breast cancer should consult with their doctor to determine if screening before age 40 is necessary. Additionally, many women have questions and concerns about the screening process. We like the tips and information Carson-Tahoe Hospital provided in this recent article.
There are numerous mammography screening locations throughout Nevada, including high-quality services via the traveling Mammovan. To find the screening location nearest you, visit our interactive map. Some women may also be eligible for free or low-cost screening through the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program. Learn more and find out if you qualify.
And to lighten the mood, here's a fun reminder: Check for lumps to save your bumps!