Approximately 1 out of 8 American women will develop breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. Of all cancers, breast cancer affects the second most number of women in the U.S. and causes the second highest number of deaths. There are many risk factors and symptoms of breast cancer, so Dr. Goff recommends that you schedule an appointment as soon as you notice abnormalities in your breast. Below are some helpful tips regarding breast cancer prevention.
Breast Cancer and Age
The two most common risk factors for breast cancer are being female and age. Most breast cancers begin around age 40 as a result of genetic mutations caused by aging. However, women as young as 20 can develop breast cancer. Starting at age 25, the American Cancer Society recommends receiving a breast exam every 3 years. At age 40, women should begin receving an annaul breast exam, including a mammogram. Dr. Goff also recommends performing monthly breast self exams (BSE) to get know the shape, feel and texture of your breasts.
Breast Self-Exam (BSE)
Recent studies show that the most effective way to screen for breast cancer is mammography. However, performing monthly breast self exams (BSE) allows you to know the shape, size and texture of your breasts. The best time to perform a BSE is in the shower, when your breasts are slippery. Be sure to cover the entire surface area of your breast , from cleavage to underarm and from collarbone to abdomen. You should also perform a self exam on your breasts while looking in the mirror.
What to Look For when performing a Breast Self Exam:
- Unusal shape, size or color of your breasts
- Dimpling, puckering or bulging of skin
- Nipples that have changed position, including introverted nipples
- Sudden discharge of fluid, including watery or milky fluid or blood
- Lump, knot or thickening inside the breast or underarm
- Rash on the nipple, especially one that is itchy or scaly
The Susan G. Komen Foundation offers diagrams depicting these warning signs.
If you experience any of the above symptoms, contact Dr. Goff immediately to schedule an apponitment for an exam.