What's the Norm?

Published October 20, 2010

Knowing how your breasts look and feel is important in helping identify any lumps or changes that appear suddenly. If you do see or feel something that’s not right, report those changes to your health care provider immediately. Remind your moms, grandmas, aunts and sisters to know how their breasts look and feel, too. It’s just like a sisterhood – each one teach one.

If you notice any of the warning signs of breast cancer listed below, see your health care provider right away.

• Lump, hard knot or thickening
• Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening
• Change in the size or shape of the breast
• Dimpling or puckering of the skin
• Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
• Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast
• Nipple discharge that starts suddenly
• New pain in one spot that doesn’t go away

Often times as women we find it very difficult to discuss our health issues with our family, friends and even our physicians. Finding breast cancer early is often the best line of defense a woman has.  Holding your family and friends accountable for their health is a great way to get them motivated to seek information about this disease. 

In 2005, studies showed that 64.9 percent of African American women over the age of 40 reported getting a mammogram in the last two years. However, only 49.9 percent reported getting one within the past year. Let’s all try to increase that percentage and get screened yearly - it only takes a few minutes.

It’s also important to remember that your doctor isn’t assuming you have cancer if he or she suggests a screening test. Screening tests are given even when you have no cancer symptoms. The Circle of Promise is designed to engage African American women to help end breast cancer forever by fostering increased awareness, support, empowerment and action. Get connected today with your circle.

For more information, please visit www.circleofpromise.org.

Written by The Susan G. Komen for the Cure® Circle of Promise

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