1. See a health care provider annually for a wellness check so that you can have a trained professional examine your breasts.
My group practice, Innovative Women’s Health Care Solutions, offers free breast exams throughout the month of October. Additionally, through our outreach arm, Innovative In Action, we perform free breast exams in collaboration with the YMCA and St. Joseph’s-Emory mobile unit in Atlanta. Check with your provider and local agencies about free exams.
2. Get your mammograms!
No excuses ladies, as there are free and low -cost mammograms available in most areas of the country.
3. Last and most important, you must perform monthly breast exams.
Your provider exam and your mammogram are only done at one point in time. You have eleven additional months that you must take care of yourself. If you don’t feel for it, you won’t find it, thus you won’t report it and we will not be able to evaluate it. Therefore, the diagnosis will not be made. Here is how to do a simple self exam.
A later diagnosis decreases your options, increases your need for major surgery, need for chemotherapy and lessens your chances for survival.
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I do understand you are busy, so here are some ways to help you remember to practice self care:
- Find a bosom buddy. This is the person, possibly your BFF, who will remind and lovingly scold/shame you into doing your self breast exam. You should do the same for her.
- Delegate examinations to your partner. They will find it a fun exercise!
- Use that wonderful device you have called a smartphone to remind you monthly.
Let’s not just get swept up in the fever. Let’s continue to sweat it out throughout the upcoming year.