Did you know that October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month? While many advancements in awareness and treatment have been made in recent years, we still have a long way to go when it comes to fighting breast cancer: Almost 40,000 women died from breast cancer in the United States last year alone, and the number isn’t decreasing significantly this year so far. The best way for women to protect their breast health is to be their own advocate. Perform your own breast exams at home regularly to detect any changes that may have occurred. Be vigilant about scheduling your annual check-ups and mammograms. Inform yourself about the possible changes other than lumps that can be a sign of breast cancer, such as puckering of the skin on the breast, swelling, redness, or pain in one particular spot that doesn’t go away, or sudden nipple discharge from one breast.
Women who have breast implants are no exception to the rule in terms of the need for careful monitoring of the breasts: implants are not a protection against cancer. If you have had breast augmentation you should arguably be even more careful than someone who hasn’t, since implants can sometimes make it more difficult to detect irregularities in the breasts. Yet another reason to be consistent about going in for MRIs (not only can they detect leaks, they can also detect cancer)!
For more information on early detection, getting screened, and more, visit www.nbcam.org. Here’s to healthy breasts. Happy National Breast Cancer Awareness Month from all of us at the San Francisco Plastic Surgery & Laser Center!