Saturday, October 1, 2011

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

I am a survivor! I was diagnosed with Stage 2 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (just one of several types of breast cancer) in January of 2006. At the time of diagnosis, I was pregnant with our sixth child and 38 years old. I am now a FIVE YEAR survivor!!!!

If you are the 1 in 8 women who will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime you need to have a plan that helps you detect the disease in its early stages. When breast cancer is found early, the 5-year survival rate in the United States is 98%, which is why there are over 2 million breast cancer survivors today. Whether you are 20 or 80, you need an early-detection plan.

Every month (regardless of your age) you need to do a self-exam. Taking a few minutes to do a breast self-exam a minimum of once a month can make the difference of a lifetime, literally. Nearly 70% of all breast cancers are found through self-exams. Write it down on your calendar. I send out reminders on the 19th of every month (my birthday falls on the 19th). Click here to go to my page on how to perform a self-breast examination. If you find a lump, schedule an appointment with your doctor, but don’t panic—8 out of 10 lumps are not cancerous.

Once a year have a clinical breast exam by a qualified nurse or doctor to check for lumps or other physical changes.

Get a mammogram once a year. A mammogram is an X-ray photograph of the breast and the primary tool in diagnosing breast cancer.