October is a month filled with celebrations of pumpkins, funny costumes and festive fall activities but for some, it’s a reminder of something much more serious - it’s also Breast Cancer Awareness month. It’s a time when people, organizations and companies come together to bring awareness about the disease, raise funds for a much needed cure, celebrate survivors and remember those who have passed.
The biggest key in fighting the disease is awareness and early detection. We’ve put together some quick tips on how to self-check so you can be in the know.
How can you detect breast cancer early? The best form of detection is through yearly screenings by your doctor - mammograms can detect irregularities and lumps that can’t be seen or felt but you don’t have to wait for an entire year - you can get started at home by performing monthly regular self-breast exams.
A great place to check is in the shower or while you’re laying down. We’ve made a quick and easy chart for you to reference. Print it out, save the image, repost and share with your girlfriends and loved ones. Encourage them to perform the checks regularly and if it helps to get the job done, host a girl’s night with wine, snacks and a private room (a simple bathroom will do!).
How can we check breast cancer at home? When performing your self-exam, be sure to cover the entire breast area and armpit. Pressure should be light, medium and firm. Also squeeze the nipples to check for discharge and lumps.
What to Look For
- Any swelling of the breast (all or part)
- Skin irritation or dimpling (like the peel of an orange)
- Pain in the nipple or breast
- Nipples retracting/turning inwards
- Nipple or breast skin redness, scaliness, or thickening
- Discharge other than breast milk from the nipple
While you’re laying down, watching TV or before you fall asleep at night, place a pillow under your shoulder (whichever side you’re check first - be sure to check both) and place your hand behind your head. Using the opposite hand, gently move the pads of your fingers around the breast in small circular motions. Repeat the same steps and check the other side.
In the Shower
The shower isn’t just time for singing your favorite songs at the top of your lungs, let’s check on your health too! Using the pads of your fingers, gently move in a circular pattern around your breast from the outside to the center -remember to check the armpit too.
What do you do if you find something?
If you notice something is off, try not to panic, and schedule an appointment with your doctor right away. Call a close friend or family member that you trust who can go with you - you don’t have to do it alone!
Want to do more? Here are some ways you can get involved in the fight against breast cancer:
- Start by spreading the love! Share resources and awareness tips - remember, early detection is key! Share our chart and use the hashtag #shapermintpinktober.
- Wear pink clothing or a pink ribbon to show support!
- Create a fundraiser, join a team or walk/run a race to support fundraising and awareness efforts with Susan G. Komen. Read more here: komen.org
Whether you’re a survivor, recently diagnosed or have been through the struggle with a family member or friend, always know your friends here at Shapermint are here to support you!
You can find more information and resources on the American Cancer Society website: cancer.org