Breast Cancer; Early Detection Saves Lives (Maybe Yours)
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Ladies, please, read this artical carefully and make a change that could save your life. If you have 30 minutes out of year to spare for a simple procedure that could save your life then listen up.
Having a mammogram is not the terrifying thing that you heard it is from your neighbor. In fact, with the new digital technology and flex paddles having a mammogram is better than ever. I am a registered mammographer and radiologic technologist and i have been in the medical field over 20 years. I have done cat scans, operating room procedures, interventional radiology, cardiac cath lab, dexa scans, some nuclear medicine studies, and diagnostiac xrays. To put it mildly i have seen it all. Literally. The new digital mammography machines have cut down the time to a 15 minute exam. The new paddles flex against your chest wall making it more comfortable. There are also mammo pads available, so ask your technologist prior to your exam if she has these available. They are a thin piece of foam that makes the area where you lay your breast softer and it does not interfere with the quality of the images. The new digital images are outstanding. So crisp and clear. If you go to a site that still uses film it is alright to do that. Those images are good too. It's like regular t.v. versus hd t.v. Same principal.
Breast Cancer is the most common cancer amongst women in the United States. It is the second leading cause of cancer in women worldwide. There are over 2 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S. There are several different types of breast cancer.
1) Ductal Carcinoma; It starts in the milk ducts or lobes of the breast.
2) Lobular Carcinoma; It starts in the lobules of the breast.
3) Invasive Lobular Carcinoma; It has spread into the tissue outside of the lobules.
4) In Situ Carcinoma; It is in its own capsule.
5) Inflammatory Breast Cancer; This is the scariest to me personally.
It is so rare, 1-5%, that it is often misdiagnosed as a skin infection. There is usually swelling and redness of the breast and skin. It is a very rapid-growing type of cancer. There are several other types that are rare but these are the main types.
Pagets disease is a type of cancer that leaves the skin scaly and itchy. It starts in the ducts of the nipple. It is usually in situ but can also be and invasive cancer.
Women should exam their breasts once a month a week after their period or anytime that is not during or right before their menstrual cycle. Do a finger roll technique instead of just pressing around. Pressing can actually push down a lump to where you won't feel it.
If you find a lump it does not mean it is cancer so do not panic. It can be a noncancerous tumor or even a cyst. Either way, it is still something you want to have checked immediately. If you have black or bloody nipple discharge it needs to be checked. Clear or milky discharge is considered normal. If your nipple inverts and it has never been that way before then see your doctor. If your skin starts to dimple or look like an orange peel then see a doctor right away.
Breast Cancer cells spread through the blood vessels and the lymphatic system(lymph nodes), So if you feel a swollen lymph node or lump in your armpit, on the side of your neck, or on your chest in the collarbone area then see your physician.
Breast Cancer is serious. It can be cured if caught in time. So ladies, please, take the time to have your mammogram. Have the peace of mind of knowing. Your daughters will also need to know for herself. So you aren't just doing it for you. You are doing it for everyone who loves you. EMILY A. ROGERS RT(R,M)