Posts Tagged ‘risk factors’

Friday’s Gift

// October 8th, 2009 // No Comments » // Women's Health

Being Breast Healthy

Breast cancer is a malignant (cancerous) tumor that starts from cells of the breast. It occurs mostly in women, but men get it too. It is the most common cancer among women in the United States, other than skin cancer. And it is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, after lung cancer.

The statistics are wild. In the United States, the chance of a woman having invasive breast cancer some time during her lifetime is 1 in 7; the chance her dying is 1 in 35. (About 40,480 women will die from this disease this year.)

We know that certain risk factors are linked to breast cancer: being female, being over age 55, having a certain genetic risk (BRCA 1 or 2), having personal or family history, being Caucasian, early start menstrual cycle, late menopause. Also: not having children or having them late in life, using birth control pills, being overweight or obese, not exercising, smoking, and having 1, or more, drinks of alcohol per day. The other factors we haven’t mentioned are environmental, to be discussed in detail later. So what can we do? Be proactive and take control.

Get annual mammograms, annual clinical breast exams and perform monthly breast self exams. The monthly breast self exam should follow a routine that is easy to remember and repeat each month. Knowing the landscape of your breast tissue is very important, as you will easily notice any changes that may occur in the future.

So here we go: With no shirt , blouse, or bra on, stand in front of a mirror with your hands on your hips, check for lumps, differences in breasts, nipples, (are they inverted, do they have a discharge?) turn to get a side view of each breast. Do the same with your arms raised above your head, is a breast hanging heavily? Now bend forward, with your hands on your hips and check how your breasts appear in this position. Note the differences so that you can really know what is normal for you. Next, you will have to lie down with a folded towel under one of your shoulders, let’s say the right shoulder. Raise your right arm behind your head. Use the pads of your three middle fingers on your left hand to check your right breast. After you have checked your right breast, put your towel under the left shoulder, raise your left arm behind your head and use the pads of the three middle fingers on your right hand to check your left breast. Be sure to check your entire breast, including under your arm (in the pit area). Use light, medium and deep pressure (three passes, each breast). You can move your fingers in circles, a grid pattern (vertically or horizontally), or the clock method.

We have access to an FDA approved device, called the Breast Chek Kit, that can assist you when you perform your self exam. It can make your fingers more sensitive by decreasing the friction that exists between your fingers and the skin of your breast. It magnifies the feeling under your fingers by about 10 times, allowing you to find abnormalities early, when they are small. By knowing what is normal for you and taking your breast health into your own hands, following the screening guidelines, you maximize your chances of finding irregularities early. It is suggested that you do your monthly breast self exams the same time of the month, each month (preferably the 5th day after your period).


For more information on Breast Health and the Breast Chek Kit and Breast Cream, or to schedule a Breast Health Presentation for your office, or group, please go to our contact page and make a request, or visit us at Body Works Massage & Wellness Center.