Do You Have Breast Cancer?

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  • Over the past several months have you been performing monthly self exams of your breasts? And if you have, did you notice that you had a lump or a thickness either of your breasts? Or have you noticed that your breast seem to be a bit different or uneven in size? How about your nipples? Do either of them look as though they are inverted.... in other words, like an "innie" instead of an "outie?" And, do you worry that you have breast cancer?

    By now you may already know that one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. And a number of men will also be diagnosed as well. Breast cancer has been classified as the 2nd largest cause of deaths from cancer amount women in the U.S. Lung Cancer is in the #1 position and heart disease in in the top 10. It is important to know what to do in order to know exactly what is happening with your body, especially your breasts.

    First and foremost, if you haven't done so already, you want to check with your doctor to get an overal checkup. And if haven't had a mammogram, at least in the past 12 months, you need to get a mammogram. The second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S among women is breast cancer, the first being lung cancer.

    Even though heredity can play a role in your level of risk for breast cancer, according to medical research only about 5 to 10% of breast cancers are hereditary. This means that as many as 75% of breast cancers are experienced when no hereditary factors are contributing to the concern. But there are several things you can observe to increase your understanding of breast cancer indicators/symptoms. Take a look:

    1. Be aware of any thickness or lump in the area of your armpits or breasts.

    2. If your nipple(s) appear to be innies/inverted, this could be a reason for concern.

    3. Should you observe an change in the contour or color or size of your breast(s), be aware that this could be a reason for concern.

    4. If you notice any discharge from a nipple, either clear or bloody, this is a definite sign that would indicate a reason to be concerned and to visit your doctor.

    All in all, should you notice anything that raises a question in your mind, including any of the above mentioned signs and symptoms; you could experience a sense of alarm. Breast cancer is a dreaded fear of many women. The good thing to be aware of is that breast cancer can be cured when found early enough.

    Early detection is vitally important. And this is the role that annual mammograms play in your life. And if you are uninsured, and living in the Greater Orlando Florida area, the Jennie Yoon Buchanan M.D. Breast Cancer Fund may be able to provide you with a free mammogram. And in most major cities you should be able to find a source of similar services. Check with your doctor or the local Community Chest or other social services agencies in your area.

  • Procrastination is a killer. Get to your doctor for a checkup if you have suspicious signs/symptoms related to your body, mind and/or organs. And if you haven't done so already, immediately begin doing monthly self exams of your breasts. Early detection saves lives.

    Be well, Jennie Jennie Yoon Buchanan M.D. Medical Director of Womens Imaging Florida Hospital