Today I want to write about breast cancer awareness. Men should read this too even it seems like this field does not cover their interest area. Yet breast cancer in men has become more usual. Around 1 new case of breast cancer is diagnosed for every 100,000 men.
I came up with this idea after I received in my inbox few messages from my friends who asked me to simply post on my Facebook wall a heart, without writing anything, while this it will be a breast cancer awareness!!! Still wandering how a simple heart on the wall could make people figuring out about breast cancer, I just need to add my comment for sure. So, I will keep the heart and carry on with my message. Not only because I am a radiographer and even used to work on the Mammography modality, but because I am firstly a woman, a mother and a supportive carer.
Awareness breast cancer is something which should become as natural as possible. Firstly we all need to get to know about our body, our breasts. Learn what the breasts look and feel like. Their appearance and feel can change at different times of the menstrual cycle. The milk-producing tissue in the breast becomes active in the days before a period starts. Some women find that their breasts feel tender and lumpy at this time, especially near the armpits. After a hysterectomy (removal of the womb), the breasts usually show the same monthly changes until the time of periods would have stopped naturally. After the menopause, activity in the milk-producing tissue stops. Normal breasts can feel soft, less firm and not lumpy.
Knowing what the breasts normally feel like will help people to be aware of any abnormal changes. Not all changes are a sign of breast cancer. Some women have cysts or thickening of the breast tissue, which is normal. According to Cancer Research UK, 9 out of 10 breast lumps are not cancer.
Women should be aware of the following changes in the breasts that could signal breast cancer: changes in the outline or shape of the breast, especially those caused by arm movements or by lifting the breast, changes in the look or feel of the skin, such as puckering or dimpling, any new lumps, thickening or bumpy areas in one breast or armpit, with or without pain, that differs from the same part of the other breast and armpit, discharge from the nipple (may be bloodstained), moist, red areas on the nipple that don’t heal easily, any change in nipple position, such as being pulled in or pointing differently, a rash on or around the nipple.
Less common symptoms of male breast cancer include: the nipple beginning to turn in on itself (nipple retraction), the nipple becoming hard and inflamed, and looking sore (nipple ulceration), fluid leaking from the nipple (nipple discharge).
Additional symptoms usually only develop if the cancer spreads from the breast to other parts of the body, such as the bones, liver or lungs. This is known as metastatic breast cancer. Symptoms of metastatic breast cancer include: bone pain, swelling of the lymph nodes (glands), usually in or around the armpit, shortness of breath, feeling unusually tired all the time, feeling sick (nausea), itchy skin with yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice).
If any of these symptoms are noticed, people should ask advice from GP. If necessary, they will make then a referral to a specialist breast cancer clinic. This specialist may invite for a mammogram, which is an X-ray of the breasts, or for an ultrasound scan (sonogram).
I will not write about the culture of this awareness which became so famous our days, about the pink and other things like that. My only simple message in return of my friends request is: be aware of the fact that Breast Cancer could affect you. Seek advise from your doctor and after the age of 40’s consider the regular screening, based on the harm and benefits.
Live your beautiful life! While there is life, there is hope!