Breast health: checkups are key

Early detection improves odds of survival

Have you talked to your health-care provider about getting a mammogram? If not, now’s the perfect time to do so. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a time when there’s a big push for education and early detection. Approximately one in eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer. It’s the second most common cancer in women after skin cancer, and a mammogram is able to detect it long before physical symptoms occur. Early detection greatly increases the chances of survival. It’s especially important to do checkups if breast or ovarian cancer runs in your family. Regular self exams are important, too.

Here are some signs to look out for:

• Any hard lump or thickening in any part of the breast

• Changes in breast shape or size

• Dimpling or puckering of the skin

• Unusual swelling, redness or warmth

• Pain in one spot not associated with your monthly cycle

• A pulling in of the nipple

• Sudden nipple discharge appearing in only one breast

• Itchy, sore or scaling area on one nipple