Be breast self-aware

Published in Women's Services, For the Health of It Author: Juli Sanner, RN, OCN, CBCN

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women (except for skin cancer) but it can be successfully treated. Screening tests can find cancer early, when chances for survival are highest.

  • Know your risk. Learn about your family health history. Talk to your provider about your personal risk of breast cancer.
  • Get screened. Have a clinical breast exam at least every 3 years starting at age 20 and every year starting at age 40. Have a mammogram every year starting at age 40 if you are at average risk.
  • Know what is normal for you. Consult your health care provider if you notice breast changes such as:
  1. Lump, hard knot or thickening inside the breast or underarm area
  2. Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening of the breast
  3. Change in the size or shape of the breast
  4. Dimpling or puckering of the skin
  5. Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
  6. Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast
  7. Nipple discharge that starts suddenly
  8. New pain in one spot that doesn’t go away
  • Make healthy lifestyle choices:
  1. Maintain a healthy weight
  2. Add exercise into your routine
  3. Limit alcohol intake
  4. Limit menopausal hormone use
  5. Breastfeed, if you can

View more information about breast care