Don’t be part of the 3%. Early detection of breast cancer is critical.

Many people don’t realize that the earlier a person identifies that they have breast cancer, the better the chance they will survive. According to many experts in the field, “Early breast cancer detections have a 97 to 100 percent chance of cure but once it spreads to the lymph nodes or elsewhere the chance of cure goes down significantly.” Early detection gives opportunity to receive essential care at the earliest breast cancer stage. More treatment options are available and there is a greater opportunity for a lifesaving outcome.

How You Can Identify Breast Cancer

Identifying breast cancer in your breast can be challenging. However, there are generally three steps.

  1. Check monthly to identify symptoms that are occurring in your body. Keep in mind that not all pangs and abnormalities are cancerous. See below for symptoms to watch for.
  2. Get a mammogram at least once per year (or the interval suggested by your doctor) to check for signs of cancer in your breasts. If pre-cancer or possible cancer is found, your doctor will refer you to an oncologist.
  3. Be proactive! Check with your doctor or oncologist for additional information that is unique to your situation and/or to further investigate findings and options.
Breast self-exam diagram

Symptoms to Check For

Breast cancer is usually painless so don’t rely on just feeling it. Routinely do self-breast exams to notice changes early. Here are things to watch for.

  • New lump in the breast or underarm (armpit).
  • Thickening or swelling of part of the breast.
  • Irritation or dimpling of breast skin.
  • Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast.
  • Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area.
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood.
  • Any change in the size or the shape of the breast and breast pain are additional symptoms of breast cancer.

Not Every Lump is Cancer, but they all need to be checked.

As you are doing a breast exams, you may find a lump, and that can be scary. Keep in mind that it may be a non-cancerous cyst or lump in your breast. A cancer tumor feels different than a cyst. A tumor is firm to the touch, has no discharge, and is not red or swollen. If you think you have found a lump, contact your doctor as soon as possible and get it checked.

Please take care of your health by early screening for breast cancer. Early detection might save your life!

It’s not hard. Get a mammogram regularly and perform a self-exam at the same time each month to detect changes.