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Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Big or Small, Save Them All!

Let it be known that the month of October is breast cancer awareness month! Grab a handful of tit and pay attention – these next two minutes could save your life!

According to the Canadian Cancer Registry (2016), breast cancer continues to be in the top five cancer diagnoses in Canada, along with lung, colorectal, prostate and bladder cancer. Statistics released by the Canadian Cancer Society (2016) reveals that every day approximately sixty-eight Canadian women are diagnosed with breast cancer and fourteen women die as a result of it. So tell your mom, tell your sister, tell your girlfriends (and boyfriends)… feel ya ta tas!

Completing a Breast Self-Exam (BSE):  

Step 1: Feel them… ALL THE TIME!

Establishing a sense of normality when it comes to feeling your breasts can help you identify any changes. According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, it is recommended that you complete a BSE at least once a month.  

Step 2: Feel them in the shower!

Using the pads of your fingers, massage the breast in a circular motion moving from the outside to the center. Be sure to check the regions under your armpits and up to your clavicle, feeling for any lumps or knots.  

Step 3: Feel them lying down!

Lie down with your arm above your head and a pillow under your shoulder/arm. The breast tissue should look even as it spreads over the chest. Repeat step 2 using light/medium and firm pressure. Without giving yourself a nipple twister, gently squeeze the nipple and check for the presence of lumps or any watery/bloody discharge.  

Step 4: Stare at them!

Stand in front of a mirror observing your breasts in all their glory, firstly with your arms down by your sides and then again above your head. Observe the shape of the breasts and the appearance of the nipples. It is important to note that many woman have one breast larger than the other; this is why it is important to complete a BSE regularly so that you can note when there is unusual swelling, dimpling, puckering or reddening of the breast!

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, the known risk factors for developing breast cancer are as follows:

Known Risk Factors

Personal history of breast cancer

Family history of breast and other cancers

BRCA gene mutations

Dense breasts

Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry

Reproductive history

Exposure to ionizing radiation

Hormome replacement therapy

Oral contraceptives

Alcohol

Atypical hyperplasia

Obestity

High socio-economic status

Tall adult height

 

Possible Risk Factors

Physical inactivity

Adult weight gain

Smoking and second-hand smoke

Birth weight

Night shift work

Some benign breast conditons

Read more here.

 

Want to Help Raise Awareness?

Here are a few ideas:

  • Sport the pink ribbon
  • Buy a “Save the Boobies” shirt/ bracelet here
  • Participate in local walks/runs like the CIBC Run for the Cure in Victoria
  • Update your social media accounts with info about breast cancer awareness (i.e. #FeelForLumpsSaveYourBumps, #BigOrSmallSaveThemAll, #NoMoreRackAttack)
  • Tell everyone and their mothers to FEEL YA TA TAs!

 

References

Canadian Cancer Society. (2016). Risk factors for breast cancer. Retrieved September 27, 2016, from http://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-type/breast/risks/?region=on

  Canadian cancer registry. Cancer incidence in Canada, 2013. (2016). Retrieved September 25, 2016, from http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/160315/dq160315a-eng.htm

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Ellen is a fourth year student at the University of Victoria, completing a major in Writing and a minor in Professional Writing: Editing and Publishing. She is currently a Campus Correspondent for the UVic chapter, and spends most of her free time playing Wii Sports and going out for breakfast. She hopes to continue her career in magazine editing after graduation, and finally travel somewhere farther than Disneyworld. You can follow her adventures @ellen.harrison
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