This month we are celebrating all the Breast Cancer “girls” and we are calling on all the other “girls” we know to be proactive and get their annual mammogram screening. Just this week, I heard a story of a lady who missed her screening last year and two years went by till she had her next one, and then she had a small lump that showed up. Thank goodness it’s only a centimeter in size with no nodes involved, so she is very fortunate.
Often a small lump is hard to palpate on your own if you are not used to doing your own breast exams each month. According to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the most common warning signs are “changes in the look or feel of the breast, or changes in the look and feel of the nipple and nipple discharge.”
There may be changes in the color of the breast, like redness or a darkening of the tissue. You may feel swelling or a warmth in the breast in a certain area. There may be changes in the size of the breast with a dimpling or puckering that occurs. Sometimes a pain starts that just won’t go away, and sometimes there is a pulling or a tugging sensation that you feel as well. If you get an itchy, scaly rash that develops on the nipple region, it is a sign of possible breast cancer.
Also nipple discharge that is clear or bloody needs to be checked too. Changes in the texture of the breast or armpit, such as a thickening, a lump or a hard type of knot need to be looked at by your healthcare provider. These lumps can be cysts or a fibroadenomas but it is best to see your MD to make that determination. You know your breast better than anyone else, don’t be afraid to do your self-exam. If you don’t know how to do it, please ask your healthcare provider.
We have found in our practice when “girls” learn to take care of their health and honor their bodies, it empowers them in all avenues of their lives. When your health becomes a priority, things change: your self-esteem, your drive and your opportunity.
Every “girl” I know has an innate beauty and it is our job to care for ourselves in a healthy way. So I personally challenge you to step forward this month and make a change. Do something new. Step out of your comfort zone for your health. Personally, I have been wanting to take a yoga class, but could never seem to find the time. This month I decided to make the time and I am taking the class from a sweet friend of mine once a week for six weeks. So far I am loving it. After my first class, I slept like a baby, and I felt the tensions that are so easy to carry around with me, melt away. I can tell already that yoga is a lifelong skill for me and it will be something that will help change my mind and body health for the better.
So “girls,” get ready to rock the world, you can do it. Take a stand for your health and never give up on your body. Start with one new choice, one new decision a day, and don’t look back. So what if you have a few extra rolls and things that hang lower than they used too. Accept the past and commit to the new you. I’m cheering for you, “girl!”
Sheree DiBiase, PT, is the owner of Lake City Physical Therapy, and she and her staff want you to put on your big girl pants and get moving on to better health. We look forward to helping you on your health quest at our Coeur d’Alene office (208) 667-1988 or our Spokane Valley office (509) 891-2623.