October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM). The pink colors are unmistakable and prevalent: Watch a National Football League game or a collegiate sport in October and you’ll see pink-adorned players and coaches in officially-licensed BCAM gear. Fundraisers, events and 5K runs draw millions of participants and survivors nationwide, working to raise breast cancer awareness each year.
The media exposure, activities and events are inspiring, but the most important way you can participate in BCAM is to be proactive in detecting the disease in its earliest stages, and encourage friends and family to do the same.
Detecting breast cancer
The symptoms of breast cancer often surface as painful lumps or abnormal tissue in the breast, in the underarm area or on the nipple.
Performing monthly breast self-exams is your best chance to identify changes in the breast as early as possible. Screening mammograms (once a standard annual diagnostic for women aged 40 and up) are now recommended every two years for women aged 50 and up. If a breast self-exam reveals the following abnormalities, consult your doctor immediately:
- Nipple tenderness
- A lump or thickening of tissue in or near the breast or underarm
- Change in the skin texture or enlarged pores in the breast skin
- Lump(s) in the breast (not all lumps are cancerous, but all should be checked out by your doctor)
- Unexplained change in breast size or shape
- Dimpling anywhere on the breast
- Unexplained swelling or shrinking of the breast (especially if on one side only)
- Nipple appears turned slightly inward or inverted
- Red, scaly, swollen or rough skin on the breast, areola or nipple
Breast health and total health
Helping you remain diligent about regular breast self-exams is an important part of the total women’s health care provided at Pomona Valley Health Centers (PVHC).
In addition to women’s health, the dedicated physicians at PVHC possess the credentials and experience to care for your entire family. From family and sports medicine to sleep disorders and urgent care, PVHC offers convenient locations throughout Southern California’s Inland Empire in Pomona, Chino Hills, Chino Hills Crossroads and Claremont.
To learn more or schedule an appointment, call 909-630-7829 or click here to use our online form.