Self-care often gets put off when we are caring for others. It is easy to concentrate on what’s right in front of us and neglect our own health needs. Don’t fall into this trap! Who will care for your loved one if you lose your health? Early detection is a KEY factor in breast cancer survival rates.
What Are The Chances?
According to Breastcancer.org, it is estimated that there will be 266,120 new cases of invasive breast cancer among U.S. women in 2018. The two most common risk factors for developing breast cancer are being female and getting older.
- About 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12.4%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.
- A woman’s risk of breast cancer nearly doubles if she has a first-degree relative (mother, sister, daughter) who has been diagnosed with breast cancer.
- Dense Breast Tissue is a factor in missed breast cancer diagnosis, and High breast density is a more significant risk factor than having two first degree relatives with breast cancer.
- About 85% of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer. These occur due to genetic mutations that happen as a result of the aging process and life in general, rather than inherited mutations.
Screening Guidelines for those with an *Average Breast Cancer Risk
- Women between the ages of 25 and 40 should have an annual clinical breast examination.
- Women 40 and older should have an annual mammogram in addition to an annual clinical breast examination.
- Ultrasound may be recommended for women with dense breast tissue.
- All women should perform a monthly breast self-exam beginning at age 20 and become familiar with their breasts so they are better able to notice changes.
*How do I know if I have an Average Risk? Learn more here: https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/types/breast/mammograms-breast-exams/screening-guidelines-breast
Breast Cancer Screening Options
While mammograms are the most often used breast cancer screening options, they are not the only method employed to detect breast cancer. Ultrasound is commonly used for women with dense breast tissue. 3D Mammography, when available, is also an excellent option for successful detection of cancer in dense breast tissue.
Monthly self-exams continue to be the best way to stay aware of breast changes.
This video is a great refresher on what to look for while doing a self-exam:
The Vital Importance of Self Care
Finding the time and energy to take care of your own health may seem an overwhelming task. You may even feel guilty about taking care of your own health needs. After all, you don’t feel sick right now. The truth is many women never notice any signs or symptoms before being diagnosed with breast cancer until it is picked up during a routine breast cancer screening!
Home Care Tip:
Make it a date!
Are you caring for your mother, grandmother, aunt, sister? Schedule your mammograms at the same time. Go out for lunch before or after. Make it a day to reconnect and enjoy each other.