October is best known for three things: pumpkin spice, Halloween, and breast cancer awareness. In 1985, October was named Breast Cancer Awareness Month to raise awareness and support. Roughly 1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer over their lifetime.
While women are most commonly known to develop this type of cancer, it can develop in anyone. Breast cancer happens when abnormal cells of the breast tissue multiply rapidly and the normal control systems of the body cannot stop the growth. As a result of this rapid growth of cells, a tumor is formed.
The warning signs of breast cancer are different for different people, but there are some common signs. A good rule to follow is to know your family history and report any changes to your doctor. Change in the look or feel of your breast, nipple, or nipple discharge should be examined by a medical professional.
There are a variety of breast changes that should be reported to your doctor. These changes include the following:
Chart provided by Komen of Central Indiana
The most common change women associate with breast tissue is lumps. Breast tissue naturally has a bumpy texture, and lumpiness can often be felt throughout the breast. If the lumpiness in one spot of the breast feels like the rest of the breast, and similar to the other breast, then it is likely normal breast tissue. Lumps that feel harder or different from any other spot in the breast, or different from your other breast, should be brought to your doctor’s attention.
Learning how to give yourself a breast self-exam will help you to notice these changes in your breasts. Breast self-exams should be done about once a month.
In order to have a healthy breast self-awareness, it is important to know your risk, get screened, know what is normal for you, and to make healthy lifestyle choices.