October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and we must make it a point to educate ourselves – both men (yes, even men can get breast cancer) and women – on risk factors, ways to reduce the risk of breast cancer and learn how to give ourselves a breast exam. And remember, if you are over 40 years of age or if breast cancer runs in your family, it is important to schedule an annual mammogram.
Below is a mini guide to help you get started on your breast cancer awareness from the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc:
- Family history
- Early puberty (before 12 years old) or Late menopause (after 55 years old)
- Not having children or Having children after 30 years old
- Obesity and high-fat diets
- 2 to 5 alcoholic drinks daily
Reduce the Risk:
- Exercise or Being physically active
- Eat Soy, Broccoli, Red Apples, Red Cabbage or Red Grapes
- Drink green tea
- Regular screening tests
- Avoid hormone replacement therapy if possible
Breast cancer self-examinations should be done monthly at the same time of the month, and right after your period ends.
- In the Shower: Fingers flat, move gently over every part of each breast. Use your right hand to examine the left breast, left hand for the right breast. Check for any lump, hard knot, or thickening. Carefully observe any changes in your breasts.
- Before a Mirror: Inspect your breasts with your arms at your sides. Next, raise your arms high overhead. Look for any changes in the contour of each breast, a swelling, a dimpling of the skin, or changes in the nipples. Then rest your palms on your hips and press firmly to flex your chest muscles. Left and right breasts will not exactly match—few women’s breasts do.
- Lying Down: Place a pillow under your right shoulder and put your right arm behind your head. With the fingers of your left hand flat, press your right breast gently in small circular motions, moving vertically or in a circular pattern covering the entire breast. Use light, medium, and firm pressure. Squeeze the nipple; check for discharge and lumps. Repeat these steps for your left breast.
Fight Breast Cancer:
Donate, fundraise and/or volunteer. You can also shop at selected stores where the proceeds are donated to the fight. Check out these sites for various ways on how you can help them fight breast cancer.
- National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc.
- Susan G. Kormen for the Cure
- AVON Walk for Breast Cancer
- save the ta tas
- The National Marathon to finish Breast Cancer
- Sephora’s “Beauty with a Cause”
- Yoplait’s Save Lids to Save Lives
- Clinique’s World Pink
- The Estée Lauder Companies’ “World Pink. World Without Breast Cancer.”