The most important thing to get out of this article is this...Do monthly self breast exams right after your period. PERIOD. You know your body and you will know if something doesn't "feel right".
Now for 3 Important facts that have never stood out in my reading of breast cancer detection...
1. This was shocking when I heard a doctor talk about this at a Fundraiser for Breast Cancer and the 3Day Walk. So I looked this up and found it verified by yet another doctor. Usually there is NO FAMILY HISTORY in breast cancer cases.
"Typically, in most cancers there is not a family history. In fact, the incidence of positive family history depending on whose series you review once in the neighborhood of 7 percent sometimes may be up to 9 percent or 10 percent. So, it is actually more common not to have a family history, particularly, breast cancer."
So it seems you are at just as high of risk if there is no family history of breast cancer.
2. Film mammography is NOT the golden standard for breast cancer detection. Digital mammography is much better for two reasons. Digital images allow you to manipulate them and analyze them better. They also make it easer to share images for consulting with other doctors and specialists. Digital mammography detected up to 28% more cancers than regular film mammography.
Have your annual mammogram at a center that does Digital Mammography
3. During her ordeal with breast cancer my girlfriend told me that she had learned that MRI's were the best screen for detecting breast cancer. They aren't done because of the cost. BUT what is really concerning is that in the case of DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ, affecting the milk ducts in the breast), MRI scans were far superior than mammography. In a UK study of more than 7,300 women, 92 percent of those with DCIS were diagnosed by MRI compared with 56 percent by mammography. According to the UK specialists, MRI's had too many false positives which meant more biopsies had to be performed than were needed.
Lobby for MRI's in the future for breast cancer detection. I'd prefer a false positive over detection at stage III any day.
Best Breast Cancer Sites as published in Good Housekeeping Magazine
You've Just Found a Lump
The ABCs of Breast Cancer Guide at the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation site (komen.org) will walk you through all the decisions you'll need to make, from type of biopsy to kind of treatment. The site is also noted for its inclusion of alternative treatments.
You're Especially Interested in New Findings
In addition to basic information, breastcancer.org features clear analyses of the latest studies, with an emphasis on how the results may apply to you.
You Want to Connect with Other Patients
The Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization (y-me.org) offers a hotline, guides to local support groups, and more.
Problem solving: After Clarice Richter of Southington, Connecticut, was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago, connecting with the support group at the Komen Foundation's Website was like "having a best friend all the time. I'd wake up at two in the morning, go online, and someone would be there to talk."
Think pink. Wear pink. And give to find a cure! Strappys does offer two pink bra strap options. A percentage of the proceeds will be given to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.