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Saturday, October 8, 2016

BSE

BSE (Breast Self Exams) are the key to early detection of breast cancer. It is recommended that women as young as 18-20 years old begin examining their breasts regularly. How regularly? Ideally, every month at the same time, following your period. For men (and women not having regular periods) choose the same day each month, like your birthday or the first of each month. 

Now, I'm not a doctor, and I don't have daughters, but I'm just thinking this might be something to teach girls when they start menstruating as part of their self care. On the other hand, I DO have 2 sons. Guess what they'll be learning soon?

How to do it? It's simple. By touch and by sight. My preferred method is in the shower. As your hands glides easily over your skin, any abnormalities become more apparent. 


What to look for: 

And remember, this isn't just for women. Men should be checking too. Preferably THEMSELVES!😉


There is a mixed bag of opinions on whether or not to have regular mammograms or skip them all together. Some fall somewhere in between. Please do your own research and decide for yourself. 

You might be wondering if my annual mammogram caught my cancer. No, it did not. In fact, I had one in May 2015 and there was NOTHING of concern. For as long as I can remember I have done regular BSEs because I knew my grandmother had breast cancer and I continued this practice. In January 2016, 7 months after my last mammogram, I felt a lump in my breast. That's how quickly it grew. When I finally got it checked in April, allowing for 3 more months to grow, a mammogram showed "something" but the radiologist was more concerned about calcification he spotted. An ultrasound was ordered and that confirmed that there was a mass that needed to be investigated. I was scheduled for 2 biopsies, one of the calcium deposits, the other of the suspicious mass. Only the mass came back cancerous. 

Would I have done anything differently? Yes. I wouldn't have waited till April to see my doctor. Quite possibly my cancer would have been discovered before the second mass had formed or I might have avoided the cancer spreading to my lymph nodes. I have regrets, only a word for my loved ones: check yourself regularly and if you find something, don't wait to get it checked by your doctor. It could literally save your life!

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