They’re sisters, not twins. When to go get a breast exam

There’s one thing all women have known since the dawn of time; being a girl is hard work. Whether you’re a working woman, a student, a mother or grandmother, we all have dozens of hats we are trying to juggle at once. When you’re busy however, the most important thing seems to always slip through the crack; you. Self care is immensely important for busy women who are on the go, and health can often sit on the backburner.

The most important thing you can do for yourself as a woman is to prioritize your health and self care, and the first step to this is knowing your body. One important part of this is breast health. Taking special care to know what your breasts look and feel like can be a warning sign to show you what to look out for.

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When is there cause for concern?  Well for starters, don’t fret if your breasts are different sizes and are uneven – they’re sisters, not twins! This is very common in most women, so don’t worry; you’re not the only one. Further, if one breast  is hanging lower than the other, or if you have hair around your nipples, this is also very common for most women and is not cause for any worry. Some women get alarmed when they experience breast pain or tenderness, but often this occurs just before or during your period, and may just be a sign that Aunt Flo’ is coming to pay you your favourite visit of the month.

When should you see your doctor? If you feel anything unusual or feel a breast lump do not wait on it – go see your doctor immediately. Most women are afraid of going because they dread hearing a bad result, but only 20% of breast lumps are cancerous.

One thing that’s important to note is that just because it doesn’t run in the family does not mean you’re guaranteed to also be safe. “Only 5-10% of breast cancers are hereditary, whereas 90% is attributed to lifestyle and environmental factors.” Listen to your body – it could save your life.

Definitely see your doctor if:

  • You experience swelling around your breast, collar bone, or armpit
  • Dry, cracked, red, or thickened skin (like an orange peel) around your nipple
  • Blood or fluid (besides milk) leaking from your nipples
  • Warmth or itching in your breasts

Reader beware: these symptoms don’t necessarily mean that there is something wrong, but it’s best to leave the deciding to the medical professionals, as opposed to Googling symptoms in a panic at 3 AM.

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To lower your risk, “maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly and limit the amount of alcohol consumption”, and get checked regularly with a monthly breast exam! You owe it to yourself,

your body, and your busy lifestyle to help keep you going for as long as possible. 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer at some point in her life. Mammograms can prevent cancer by detecting it early on when it is most treatable. A great tool to Assess Your Risk before your first appointment is https://www.assessyourrisk.org/ to find out your susceptibility, but remember to care for your body and give your lady parts some extra TLC. Knowing your body and getting regular breast exams could save your life.  

Knowing your body and getting regular breast exams could save your life.

Rumnru neekeek is a Communications and Business student with a passion for journalism, sports, feminism, and empowering women in all stages and aspects of life. Her favourite stories to tell are those that shed light on the very real experiences women encounter on a regular basis, as well as opening up greater conversations on issues traditionally stigmatized in society such as sexism, racism, and mental health. Lover of bad puns, Shonda Rhimes TV Shows, and wine. Funny on occasion, mostly by accident.

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