I will be the first to admit sometimes I forget to take care of myself. Sure, I work out and eat a healthy diet about 80% of the time, but I forget to acknowledge other aspects of my health. I hate the dentist, and putting off a regular cleaning is a habit that’s hard to break. Unless my doctor calls me reminding me I need a yearly checkup or exam, I truly don’t even bother. Sometimes I even lack to give myself a mental break, time to check in with my thoughts and emotions. In this whirlwind that is life, I know I am not alone. We can be so happily consumed with our relationships, our jobs, families, and anything else that makes our world move; it is hard to remember that we are important ourselves.
I work at iGoPink. My 9-5 day is consumed with educational outreach. Spreading awareness on breast cancer prevention, spilling facts on Vitamin D intake, what to look for as signs and symptoms of breast cancer, increased survivorship… these topics are on my desk and mind everyday. That being said, I put my own personal breast health on the back burner at times. Not purposefully, but almost like how I don’t tend to check in with myself regularly.
Early detection of breast cancer can increase survival by 98%, so it is important to know the signs and symptoms of breast cancer as well as understanding a proper breast test. Side note: I completely understand this can be an uncomfortable slash super awkward thing to talk about. To even think about a self-breast exam can be cringe-worthy. But it is necessary, just like every other well-woman exam (insert eye roll).
Ok back at it. Some things that may be a concern are a lump or thickening in the breast, a change in the size or shape of the breast, dimpling or puckering of the skin, a nipple turned inward, discharge from the nipple, and/or scaly, red, or swollen skin on the breast or nipple. These do not mean you HAVE breast cancer, but it is a good thing to go get checked out by your doctor if you see or experience any of these signs or symptoms.
Besides looking for some of these on your breast, also include a self-breast exam. It’s convenient to do it in the shower once a month. Shower time, I feel is a couple minutes in my day where I have time to mindlessly think. Take that mindless time and check out what may be going on with your body. Stretch out, using a circular motion with the tip of the fingers feel around the opposite breast – get close to the underarm as well. Examine, taking close inventory to see if there is some sort of hard tissue or balled up knot in each breast. It’s also good to do this not only standing, but lying down as well. There are certain part of the breasts that can be felt better while lying down. Totally saw something on the Today Show about a woman who found her breast cancer lump, she could not find it standing but could feel it while lying down.
Again I know this can be an awkward or uncomfortable subject. But it is important to talk about and understand how we can take care of ourselves. Preventing things like breast cancer or even catching it earlier, can allow us to continue to enjoy all the things we love. Want more information on breast cancer prevention and taking care of your body, spirit and mind? Visit our website!