Breast Cancer, if detected early, can save lives. With African American women, it is imperative that we know our breasts, do monthly Breast Self-Exams, get an annual clinical exam and get a mammogram when you turn 40 (not 50). If there is Breast Cancer in our families, we should have a mammogram at an even earlier age and clinical exam for young women beginning in when they turn 20. INSIST on it!
When doing a Breast Self-Exam, know what you are looking for. Most of us exam our breasts to insure there isn’t a lump. Many of us, who found a lump, called someone (family, friend, doctor) and sought next steps. However, there are other signs that indicate we need to see a doctor immediately. Do not allow a medical professional to not respect your concern and put off having an immediate appointment. Find another doctor! INSIST on it!
So, what are other signs, besides a lump that you should be aware of when performing your Monthly Breast Self-Exam?
One of the best illustrations of what to look for, I found on a website called Knowyourlemons.org. Using an egg carton, Knowyourlemons.org, shows us 12 signs.
Click on Graphic Below to enlarge picture:
When performing your Breast Self-Exam, if you notice any of these signs, get on the phone, call and make an appointment to see your doctor. INSIST on it! Call a friend and/or Peer Patient Navigator to accompany you to the doctor appointment. This neutral companion can ask the questions you may not think of and write/record the answers you are given. Due to HIPPA, you will need to sign a form acknowledging that you are giving permission for your companion to hear and get the information the doctor will share.
Now that you know what to look for, I ask, do you know how to do a Self-Exam? I’ve provided an illustration for you.
Click on Graphic Below to enlarge picture
Once more, early detection saves lives! Let us all commit, in the company of Sisters, to not only encourage others, but ensure that not only are we are doing a Breast Self-Exam; our Sisters are performing their Breast Self-Exams as well. INSIST on it!
Written by DeBorrah Carter
For Fit 4 Life SGV-NCNW