Think Pink: How to Check Yourself for Breast Cancer and Stay Healthy

So we all know that October is one of the best months of the year. With the fall weather finally kicking in and Halloween right around the corner, how could we not be excited for this month? But while Pumpkin Spice Lattes are awesome, we also need to remember the other significance of October: it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

The American Cancer Society defines breast cancer as “a malignant tumor that starts in the cells of the breast.” provides some interesting facts about breast cancer, such as: “1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime,” “breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women and the second leading cause of death among women,” and “each year it is estimated that over 220,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 will die.”

So to make sure these facts do not become your new reality, here are some tips on how to check yourself regularly and how to keep healthy so that you can prevent breast cancer.

The Breast Cancer Breakthrough has come up with a simple acronym that will help you remember everything you need to do to check for signs of breast cancer. Think TLC, as in Tender Love and Care, but also:

T – Touch your breasts. Feel for anything different or unusual.L – Look for changes. Keep your eyes open for different shapes or textures.C – Check anything unusual with your doctor. Anything you find that might not feel normal to you is worth getting more information about.

Some things to look for:

-Lumps: you may not see them but you can feel them

-Skin Texture: dimpling/puckering

-Appearance or direction of nipple

-Nipple discharge

-Rash or crusting

To reduce your risk of breast cancer, here are some ideas from

- Limit alcohol and don’t smoke

- Control your weight

- Be physically active

- Avoid exposure to radiation and environmental pollution

The most important way to reduce your risk is getting mammograms! According to the American Cancer Society, a mammogram is an x-ray exam of the breast that’s used to detect and evaluate breast changes. You should start getting mammograms regularly around the age of 50 to help detect breast cancer early and determine proper ways of treatment. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get one while you are young. Mammograms are needed at any age if a lump is found.

So collegiettes, take the necessary precautions to check yourself. It is better to find something early, so that treatment can begin right away. Also, ask around in your family and find out if breast cancer is common with your female (or even male) relatives -- you never know; it could pass on to you. Whatever you do, keep yourself active and healthy and enjoy your life!

Happy October!


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