How Important is Early Detection for Breast Cancer

How Important is Early Detection for Breast Cancer

How important is early detection for increasing your chances of surviving breast cancer?

According to the American Cancer Society, the sooner breast cancer is detected, the higher your chances of having a successful treatment. Cancer cells will be confined to a small area in their beginning stages. If the cells can be caught and treated before they have the chance to spread, the better your chances of survival. According to the American Cancer Society, the sooner breast cancer is detected, the higher your chances of having a successful treatment.

One of the best ways to stay one step ahead is to perform regular self-exams on your breasts within three to five days after each menstrual cycle. Doing this helps you become familiar with your breasts’ normal look, shape, and feel. Having this baseline makes it easier to notice abnormalities in your breasts’ appearance, shape, or feel. Remember, you are your first line of defense regarding your body. You know when something doesn’t feel right, and you will always be your number one advocate.

Some abnormalities that could hint at breast cancer may include, but are not limited to:

  • Lumps in the breast or underarm area (the side boob)
  • Dimpling in the breasts
  • Unexplained swelling or deflation in one area of or throughout the breast
  • Changes in the skin (breast, areola, and nipple) such as flaking, reddening, ridges, etc.
  • Bloody discharge from your nipples

For an in-depth list of signs and symptoms that could point toward breast cancer, check out this article by National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc.

Again, you are your first line of defense regarding your health. Speaking up during your regular exams is important if something feels off to you. In fact, we highly encourage you to speak up during your physicals.

Annual physical exams are performed for your health and overall wellness. During your annual exam, your primary care provider (PCP):

  • Establishes a baseline for you
  • Catches any changes (no matter how small they may seem)
  • Builds a complete medical history for you
  • Takes the appropriate measures to keep you healthy for many years to come

Physical exams are performed by a doctor, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant. Aside from the standard weight, height, and blood pressure exams, you’ll be asked about your medical history, any changes in your medications, and if you’re experiencing any discomfort.

So, how important is early detection?

It could mean the difference between life and death. The sooner you can detect any abnormalities, the sooner tests can be performed to give you a diagnosis. Performing regular self-exams on your breasts three to five days after each menstrual cycle and attending each annual physical exam can help you better understand your health needs and learn of potential illnesses before they worsen.

Both are essential for maintaining wellness, so we want to know: how important is early detection to you?

Do you have questions about performing breast exams on yourself at home? Contact us to learn more.

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