Saturday, October 29, 2011

Show Your Breasts Some Love!

Breast Cancer. Like most deadly diseases it doesn't discriminate against age, nationality or gender. I know  most people think "breast" it must be something only women can get. The truth is men can get breast cancer. Just like women, men also have breast tissue which puts them at risk for cancer. Understanding the source of breast cancer is essential. The cancer itself is a malignant tumor that starts from cells in the breast.Going a little deeper the malignant tumor is a group of cells that invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant areas of the body. Until puberty usually 13 or 14 boys and girls alike have breast tissues with a few ducts under the nipple and areola. Once a girls ovaries begin to release hormones her breasts begin to grow. In boys hormones made by the testicles keep breasts from growing. Like all cells of the body, a man's breast duct cells can undergo cancerous changes. But breast cancer is less common in men because their breast duct cells are less developed than those of women because their breast cells are not constantly exposed to the growth-promoting effects of female hormones. This is why breast cancer is less common in men.

Having worked in the health care field for a number of years, I know first hand that breast cancer can strike at any age. I recently had the pleasure of seeing a patient who was 98 years old and was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. To make it to 98 in itself is a blessing now days. To make it there with little to no major health problems is a double blessing. She was so optimistic about her future she came through a partial mastectomy and and is recovering just fine.

Our bodies are constantly changing. That's why monthly breast exams are important. No one knows your body better than you. You know when something new develops and when something just doesn't feel right. The first step is to touch yourself. Now we are all adults here, lets not  pretend like we don't all do it anyway. You can even make this a part of your foreplay. Be creative with it, I don't care just do it because it is important, and it could save your life. While we are on the topic its important that your man help you with this. he may feel something that you don't feel, not to mention if your missing that spark in the bedroom this could be just what you need to make that love connection again. What man would turn down the opportunity to caress a breast?  Its starts as a breast exam and ends as...well lets just say you better have your hair stylist on standby.

While the self breast examination is relatively easy to do, you have to know what your looking for. You have to know your body well enough already to recognize any changes that may have taken place. I f you suspect something feels different or not sure what your doing call your doctor. Most gynecologists and primary care physicians do breast exams when you get your yearly pap smear, and pelvic exam. However, there are still 11 other months out of the year that you need to follow up on.

  To perform a self breast exam follow these simple steps: Standing in front of a mirror, raise your arms above your head, look for any changes, discoloration or leakage. Do the same thing with your hands straight down at your side, then on your hips. Next with one arm above your head use the opposite arm to press and feel around the breast then around the nipple. Lastly feel around the breast and nipple again laying down. Its important to know how your breasts feel in different positions. You might feel something laying down that you didn't feel standing up.   

With breast cancer awareness month coming to an end we all need to remember to appreciate and take special care of our breasts all year around. (or as I call mine twin city deposits only please.) They nourish our babies, fill out our shirts, catch the crumbs when we eat and our men love them..they are a vital part of what makes us women.  Mine are so multi talented they have hidden cells phones, served as pillows, and apparently they serve as good stash spots for my sons pacifiers, cause he walks over and stuffs them down my shirt. (don't ask) Breast cancer can be detected early. It doesn't discriminate. There are women young and older dealing with this disease. African American women especially need to take the time to do monthly breast exams. We seem to be more at risk for life threatning diseases and illnesses than any other race. I know as a people we survive and continue to thrive time after time but that's no excuse to cause more unnecessary pain and trouble for ourselves by letting our health go. A lot of people think that because they have no family history of breast cancer in their family that means they cant get it. That's very far from the truth. The only pre existing condition you have to have is having breast tissue. Your doctor will tell you when its time to get mammograms, but you still have to do your part. Get to rubbing those ta ta's!

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