Today at Blume University, we’re doing something a little different. Instead of talking about periods and vaginas, we’re talking about breast health!
You might know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. While the internet might make it seem like this month is all about buying pink t-shirts and stationary, it’s actually not. Of course we don’t need a “month” to remind us to pay attention to our boobs, but it’s a great opportunity to educate ourselves and a reminder to stay on top of our health. Even Serena Williams thinks you should.
I feel a little hypocritical encouraging you all to do self checks, because I haven’t been doing regular ones myself. But it’s never too late to start and this Fall, I’m committing to monthly checks. Adulting is hard, but touching our boobs is easy! Part of adulting is checking our boobs, so let’s do it and cross one more thing off our adulting to do list.
PSA - To help me stay on track, I signed up for this awesome texting service that’ll send you an alert reminder for your monthly #selfie. Check it out!
Just the Stats
One in eight women are diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. The cause of breast cancer? Still unknown. The great news is, when breast cancer is detected early, the 5 year survival rate can be higher than 98%, much higher than many other types of cancers. Self examining your breasts regularly can help with early detection. John Hopkins University estimates that as many as 40 percent of diagnosed breast cancers today, are first detected by women who find a lump themselves.
Also, I thought it was really interesting that MOST women who did detect breast cancer early, did not notice other health problems or abnormalities in the early stages. Since breast cancer may not show symptoms, it makes it that much more important to pay attention to changes.
Know Your History
It can be scary to know that you might be at a higher risk for developing breast cancer if close relatives have been diagnosed. But knowing your family’s history can help your doctor assess your risk levels.
#Selfies Save Lives
It’s important to note that our breasts change as we go through different phases of our menstrual cycles. Your breasts will likely be more tender and sensitive when you’re on your period, so you’ll want to perform your routine check about a week after your period, each month.
It’s still helpful to become familiar with your body at different times of the month. It’s recommended that you notice how they feel when you start your cycle, during your period, two weeks after and so on! You will naturally feel little lumps and bumps - that’s totally normal. The key is to notice any changes in your breast texture over time.
Note that MOST breast lumps and pain found during a self exam, are NOT breast cancer. So don’t get alarmed! If you do suspect something has changed, it’s always best to contact your doctor to get a check up.
- Check your breasts 1x a month, every month
- Always do this exam one week after your period (if you have a period!) This is when your breasts are the least swollen and tender.
- After age 40, regular mammograms are recommended. Once a year!
How to Perform a Breast Self Exam:
Warning signs / what you’ll be looking for:
- A new lump in the breast or underarm area
- Thickening or swelling of part of the breast
- Irritation or dimpling of breast skin or nipple
- New unexplained redness
- Any change in size or shape of the breast
What if you find something?
Eight out of ten lumps are not cancerous, so don’t freak out. Just go to the doctor and get it checked! It’s totally normal to be scared. <3
How do you take care of your breast health?
Share your tips with us in the comments. And send this blog article to a gal pal you care about. Drop it in your group, send it to your sister and don’t forget to sign up for the texting alerts. :)
By Taran Ghatrora
Co-founder at Blume