Almost 300,000 men and women are diagnosed with breast cancer annually. Every woman and a small percentage of men are at risk, but some of the highest risk factors include a family history in a relative that is considered first-degree (sibling, parent, child), family history of ovarian, pancreatic or prostate history, gene variations (BRCA1, BRCA2, PALB2, TP53), postmenopausal, dense breast tissue, alcohol consumption, excess body weight and early menarche (<11 yrs).
Early detection is key to increase survival rates! Women ages 40 to 44 have the option to get annual mammograms, ages 45 to 54 should get them annually. Women ages 55 and older can have biennial mammograms, if they are at average risk, or may continue to screen annually if they choose. Women with first-degree relatives that have had breast cancer should begin screening at age 25.
Get in the habit of examining your breasts frequently. Know how your breasts look and feel normally. When examining your breasts look for asymmetry, swelling, puckering, dimpling, nipple discharge, change in color, change in nipple appearance, lumps, redness and soreness.
Remember your breast tissue is shaped like a tear drop and extends into your axilla (arm pit), so be sure to include that tissue in your breast self-examinations. For step-by-step instructions with pictures go to Breastcancer.org