Breast self-awareness helps women detect changes in their breasts
For many years, women were taught to perform a breast self-exam each month, and they were taught how to do it in a very precise way. However, physicians have recently developed a more comprehensive strategy called breast self-awareness.
Many women may feel confused by the term breast self-awareness. They may wonder why we have abandoned breast self-exams; but the truth is we haven’t. Our Round Rock obgyns and other knowledgeable physicians and groups, including the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Cancer Society and Susan G. Komen®, are recommending that women examine and get to know their breasts, along with other important steps to help detect breast cancer in its early stages.
Examining your breasts for breast self-awareness
One of the most important aspects of breast self-awareness is getting to know your breasts. This can be achieved by examining your breasts. Touch your breasts so that you can note the normal shape, feel and density. Look at them in the mirror and note how your skin and your nipples look. If you are more comfortable with getting to know your breasts using the traditional breast self-exam technique you are familiar with, that is fine. Breast self-awareness doesn’t mean that you have to stick to a precise method or monthly schedule. It’s more about being aware of what’s normal for you every day and noting any changes right away so that you can contact our Round Rock obgyns to talk about these changes.
It’s important to know your risk factors for breast cancer
Another vital part of breast self-awareness is knowing your risk factors. Our Round Rock obgyns will talk with you about your family history, your lifestyle and your own health history to determine your risk factors. For example, if you have a close relative who has had breast cancer and has tested positive for the BRCA 1 or 2 mutation, our physicians may recommend BRCA testing to determine if you have that mutation, too.
Learn about lifestyle choices that can help prevent breast cancer
There are many risk factors for breast cancer that you cannot control, such as family history or your age, but part of breast self-awareness is learning about and making lifestyle choices that can decrease your risk for developing breast cancer.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Quit smoking.
- Do not consume an excessive amount of alcohol.
- Try to exercise moderately four to seven hours per week.
Our Round Rock obgyns also recommend that women get mammograms annually at age 40 and over, or more often if they have certain risk factors.
Breast self-awareness begins with you, but our physicians are here to partner with you to make shared decisions about your care. Contact us to learn more.