We don’t typically think of our aging moms when we think about breast cancer. But we should. According to the Breast Cancer Research Association, 20% of all women diagnosed with breast cancer are over the age of 75. It is a disease of the aging.
The National Cancer Institute predicted back in 2015, that invasive breast cancer will double by 2030. Women aged between 70 and 84 will make up 35% of those cases while women 50 to 69 will make up 44%.
Early detection can save your momma’s life. According to the American Cancer Society, when detected early and still in the localized stage, 5-year survival rates are 99%.
Early Detection – What To Look For
You may never see the changes. You may never feel them. This is why it is so important to do self-exams and get professional screenings.
But just because you might not see or feel a change doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be looking for one. Remember, early detection could just save your life!
Here is what to look for:
- A change in the appearance of the breast or the nipple
- Change in size or shape
- Changes to the skin – scaly, red, pitting (like that of an orange)
- Inverted nipples
- A change in the feel of the breast or the nipple
- Nipple tenderness
- A lump or thickening in the breast or underarm area
- Warm or hot to the touch
- Any nipple discharge – milky (when not breastfeeding), clear, or bloody
How To Perform a Self-Exam
Once a month – set it as a calendar reminder – perform a self-exam. Johns Hopkins Medical center states, “Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, so establishing a regular breast self-exam is very important.”
The following can be found on the National Breast Cancer Foundations website. We defer to the professionals on how to perform a self-exam.
In the Shower
With the pads/flats of your 3 middle fingers, check the entire breast and armpit area pressing down with light, medium, and firm pressure. Check both breasts feeling for any lumps, thickening, hardened knots, or any other breast changes.
In Front of a Mirror
Visually inspect your breasts with your arms at your sides. Next, raise your arms high overhead.
Look for any changes in the contour, any swelling, or dimpling of the skin, or changes in the nipples. Next, rest your palms on your hips and press firmly to flex your chest muscles. Look for any dimpling, puckering, or changes, particularly on one side.
When lying down, the breast tissue spreads out evenly along the chest wall. Place a pillow under your right shoulder and your right arm behind your head. Using your left hand, move the pads of your fingers around your right breast gently covering the entire breast area and armpit.
Use light, medium, and firm pressure. Squeeze the nipple; check for discharge and lumps. Repeat these steps for your left breast.
Comfort Home Care was started out of the necessity to care for several of our own family members. We have remained family-centered ever since. Since 1999, we have been supporting our extended families in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties, Maryland as well as Washington, D.C.
If we can be of service to you or someone you love, don’t hesitate to reach out online or by phone (301.984.1401)