Make breast self-awareness part of your daily routine
Our doctors recommend that you practice breast self-awareness every day. We know what you’re thinking. “Do I really need to add something else to my to-do list?” The answer is yes. Thankfully, it doesn’t take long to do. All it involves is knowing what your breasts usually look and feel like and being aware of any changes.
Breast self-awareness begins with getting to know your breasts
Breast self-awareness begins with looking at your breasts in a mirror. Maybe you have avoided this in the past because you feel critical or shy. However, now is the time to look at them. Examine their size and shape. Look at the nipples.
The next step is to get over your fear of touching your breasts. Touching your entire breast area allows you to determine what is normal for you, making it easier to note changes as soon as they occur. If you notice the following changes in your breasts, report them to your doctor.
- Change in breast shape or size
- One or more lumps
- Discharge from the nipple, especially if the discharge is bloody
- Redness or pain in the nipples
- Thickening, redness, dimpling or other skin changes or irritations
- Swollen lymph nodes in the armpit area
What you don’t know can hurt you
In addition to getting up close and personal with your girls, you need to know a few things.
- Your family history. Part of breast self-awareness is knowing if any of your first-degree relatives, meaning your mother, sister, brother or father (yes, men can get breast cancer) have had breast cancer. You should also know about your grandparents, aunts and uncles.
- Learn about the risk factors you can change. Certain risk factors that increase your risk for breast cancer are out of your control. However, there are some healthy lifestyle changes you can make to decrease your risk of breast cancer.
- Get to and maintain a healthy weight.
- Incorporate aerobic exercise into your day.
- Limit the amount of alcohol you drink.
Make breast self-awareness a part of your daily routine. It’s not time-consuming or complicated, but it is a critical part of taking care of yourself. Contact Athens ObGyn to learn more.