October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the staff at Jeffrey C. Dawes, MD, FRCSC Plastic and Dermatologic Surgery wants to make sure our patients not only love the way they look, but are also taking care of themselves. Read on for some important information about your breast health!
An easy way to check for cancer
Luckily, monthly self-breast exams are easy to do, only take a few minutes, and cost nothing. They are also a way to catch breast cancer early, which can greatly increase the odds of successful treatment.
The main idea when doing a self-breast exam is to look at your breasts carefully to see if they have changed in the past month. You should check for any unusual dimpling or puckering, redness, or rash. You should check their color, size, and shape, and make sure that your nipples are not inverted (pushing inward instead of outward).
This visual check should be done in front of a mirror, both with your arms raised and then with your hands on your hips. You should also feel your breasts, while standing up with your other arm raised and also while lying down. Make sure you check the entire breast, even underneath and on the sides.
You should perform this exam after your period ends so that your breasts aren’t swollen and tender. Even if you have been through menopause, it is still important to do a self-exam every month. If you do find a lump, don’t panic! There are other reasons you may have a lump besides cancer. You should, however, make an appointment with your doctor right away.
If you’ve had a breast lift or augmentation, you may be wondering how this affects your breast health – research has shown that a breast procedure does not make it more difficult to detect cancer and it does not increase your odds of getting breast cancer. Make sure you take care of yourself – and if you are considering a breast procedure, contact the office of Jeffrey C. Dawes, MD, FRCSC Plastic and Dermatologic Surgery in Calgary for a consultation appointment. Call (403) 571-3141 today!