While Breast Cancer Awareness Month is five months away still, we try to educate and spread awareness as much as we can all year round. Today, we are going to be talking about self-breast examinations and everything you need to know about them!
Hello warriors, readers, patients, and friends! We are so glad you're joining us today for our first blog of May! It is a new season, a new spring, a new time in Charleston, and all of it comes with a new sense of hope and strength within it. We hope each of you reading this today feels that feeling with us, and we hope you know that no matter where you are in your journey, we are here to help and support you. First and foremost, we are here to help empower our amazing patients and to help them through their diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship. This will never be a path you walk alone. We also offer many specialized services right here in our Charleston offices including abnormal breast imaging, family history and genetic testing, oncoplastic surgery, scar revision, body contouring, facial rejuvenation, laser hair removal, lactation, and much more. If you're looking for the premier breast specialists in Charleston, SC, you've found us!
While Breast Cancer Awareness Month is still officially five months away, we try to honor it every day by spreading awareness, talking about the realities of breast cancer for women of all ages, and trying to use every opportunity we can to educate everyone we meet. Today, in honor of this idea, we are going to be talking about self-breast exams; what they are, the best way to go about giving yourself the best exam, and some common myths you might not know! For those new to The Breast Place, welcome! We are here to support you and your breasts at every stage of your life. We've mentioned this in past blogs, but self-breast exams can be one of the most successful first steps in preventing cancer and catching it in its early stages. Self-breast exams are important for women throughout their lives but can be extremely beneficial for younger women with very thick breast tissue. Having thick breast tissue can make it almost impossible for a mammogram to work on women younger than 40. In many situations, self-breast exams can be one of the only ways that cancer can be caught in women younger than 40, and can be an amazing lifesaver. At The Breast Place, we perform clinical breast exams, family history risk assessment, breast ultrasounds, biopsies including fine needle aspirations, and needle core biopsies in the office. However, sometimes your overall experience and reason why you find us at The Breast Palace can begin with a self-breast examination. Today, we will be focusing on self-breast exams so you can successfully carry out this life-saving procedure on yourself!
What Is A Self Breast Exam?
As it is stated in its name, a self-breast exam is an at-home self-inspection of your beasts to see if there are any changes or abnormalities that have appeared within your breasts. The best way to do a fully successful breast exam is to use both your eyes and hands to determine if there are any changes to the overall feel and look of your breasts. If you do see any changes, it is best to speak to your doctor right away. Please note that, according to the Mayo Clinic, that almost all changes found during a self-breast exam for your breasts appear due to benign causes. However, this never means that you should ignore any changes that might appear. It means you still need to share this information with your doctor and have them determine what should happen next. It is still possible that some changes may mean something serious, like breast cancer.
Why Should I Give Myself Self Breast Exams?
While breast cancer to this day is still considered something that is only found in women who have gone through menopause, we need to break that stigma! Giving yourself self-breast exams and understanding their importance can help with this! A self-exam or even just examining your breasts on your own can be a huge help with discovering cancer early. This can mean that if cancer is caught and treated earlier, it is more likely to be treated successfully! When self-exams are paired with regular physical exams, they can help make a huge impact on your life and safety. Also remember that giving yourself a breast exam costs you nothing but a little time, and that time is well worth spending on yourself!
How Do I Give Myself A Self Breast Examination?
Now that you know a little bit more about self-breast exams and why they are so important, it's time to understand how best to go about giving yourself a breast exam. This way they can be as efficient, effective, and successful as possible.
What To Expect From A Self Breast Exam
While reading about how to give yourself a self-breast exam may teach you how to do it, that doesn't mean you know exactly what to expect or what it might feel like. Here are a few more extra tips and pieces of insight that might make the whole process a little easier and help prepare you a little more.
Myths About Self Breast Exams & More
Just like we've debunked many different things on our blogs before, there are myths about self-breast exams and other related topics that need to be debunked too. The list below is full of myths to avoid and not worry about while going through your life and caring for your breasts. However, if you do have any questions or concerns even after reading this list and the whole blog, please do not hesitate to reach out and speak with us!
Warriors, fight your battles and be strong while doing so. You have the tools now to begin the battle and to keep yourself as prepared and ahead of the diagnosis as possible. Your health is in your hands, quite literally. Please take the time to dedicate a self-breast exam to your schedule every month. In the long run, it might be the biggest key in catching the first sign or stages of cancer that could appear in your body! Until next time, stay safe and be well out there. We understand life is challenging. We are here to listen, support, treat, and help make life a little easier.
When dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis, one of the first things you'll have to deal with head-on is what is true and what is false in the information available to you. Just like any medical diagnosis, you will come across myths and falsehoods that need to be debunked right away. Today we are going to be tackling the top three most common myths about breast cancer.
Hello, Warriors! We hope this blog finds you well and fighting hard. We hope you are keeping up the hope in yourself and your treatment. If no one has told you recently, you are incredible. You are getting up every day and facing every challenge head-on. With how this year has turned out, that is truly an amazing feat. We are constantly blown away by your journies, strength, and how you balance your everyday professional and personal lives while going through treatment and recovery. We are in awe of you and are inspired by you every day. Keep up the incredible work, we believe in you.
Out of everything that you've already been dealing with and what you're going through, one thing you should never have to deal with is incorrect information and myths. We are the biggest proponents of education and early detection, but we also want to eliminate any fear or misinformation due to old wives' tales or poor information that has turned into what seems like it could be true facts. To deal with this, we want to discuss and debunk some of the most common myths about breast cancer.
Myth #1: If I don't have breast cancer in my family history I won't get it; If I do have breast cancer in my family I will get it.
We wanted to roll this into one myth because to a point both myths are incorrect. It is true that if your family's medical history does include breast cancer you will be at a higher risk, but this doesn't mean you will for sure get breast cancer. According to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, only about 13% of women who have breast cancer had a direct relative who was also diagnosed with breast cancer. Also, please be aware that even if breast cancer hasn't been in your family history, this does not mean you won't get it. Breast cancer will appear when it wants to and can happen to anyone at any age. According to BreastCancer.org, most people who do get breast cancer have no family history of it at all, which means other factors besides heredity are most likely the cause. These other factors could be your environment or your lifestyle.
Myth #2 Wearing a bra with an underwire, wearing deodorant, carrying a cellphone in your bra, or using a cell phone can all cause breast cancer.
Please remain calm, if you do any or all of these things, there is nothing to worry about. Keep wearing a bra if you want, use it as a handy pocket for your phone when you need to, put on your deodorant in the morning, and keep up with your nighttime scrolls. None of these statements have actual scientific proof that links them to causing breast cancer. Although, some are still being studied to see if there is a link that could have been overlooked. According to the Susan G. Koman foundation, there are certain chemicals found in certain antiperspirants and deodorants that, "can enter the skin and cause changes that could lead to cancer". Even with that knowledge, there is still no direct link between the two. There is also no direct link between how you use or carry your cell phone that links either activity to breast cancer. There is also no increased risk of getting breast cancer connected to using your phone for long periods.
Myth #3: When you have breast cancer, a lump always forms so you know it's there.
This is very untrue. While discovering a lump can indeed be a sign of breast cancer, our last blog should be proof enough that one lump does not automatically mean you have breast cancer. Actually, most lumps are not connected to breast cancer at all. Sometimes there are no warning signs, while some are slight or drastic physical changes that you can see. Some cancers don't form a lump at all. Any change to the breast that is abnormal for your body could potentially be a sign of the early stages of cancer. When you do notice something, your doctor needs to be alerted right away!
It's easy to get caught up in everything you hear when you're dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis. You want to have something to blame for what you're going through, you want to justify why you have it, and to know what caused it in the first place. Sometimes these answers won't be easy ones to find if you can even find them at all. Do your research, talk to your care team, and try to avoid anyone who thinks they've heard something to share with you. Leave the myths at the door! Be well out there, we know that you're fighting hard. You are not alone in this, and you never will be!