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Sep 15, 2008

Celebrate Cancer Awareness Month

Setting aside one month a year for cancer awareness may alert many to the early detection of breast cancer, but to celebrate this, only once a year, is like checking the car for oil, only once a year. We have to use breast detection methods monthly or more often, and to be alert when we find anything in our breasts that does is not normally felt.

   Examine your breasts monthly, or more often if there is a history of breast cancer in your family. Monthly breast exams can reveal changes that could signal breasts cancer, such as a new thickness, a lump or a dimple in the skin.
   Talk to your daughter about breast self examinations. your women should perform this by age 20, so that they can become familiar with their bodies and catch problems early. While breast cancer is usually found in older women, many younger women, late 20's been diagnosed with it as well.
    Have annual breast exams. Mammograms can detect growths way before they are even large enough to feel. Baseline mammograms are recommended for women ages 35 to 40 and recommended earlier if there is a family history of breast cancer.
    Read about and be aware of new improved treatment options. Treatment has greatly improved in recent years. Lumpectomies, surgical removal of the lump and some surrounding tissue, have replaced mastectomies, the removal of the full breast, in treating most women with small breast cancers.

     Mammograms do not hurt. They might pinch the breast for a second, but its worth the discomfort of the pinch, if it prevents you getting breast cancer.
     Consider clinical trials which try to find better ways to prevent, screen for and diagnoses or treat the disease. Check your local hospital or ask your doctor where to find these trials or new was to detect and treat cancer, which may improve the comfort and quality of life for those who have cancer.

     If you do find something, do not panic, nor minimize it, or ignore it. Ignoring it, or fooling yourself by saying it's nothing might make you feel better, but it might cause the lump to grow, if indeed it is cancerous. Most lumps are not cancerous but should be examined by your doctor immediately.