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Breast Cancer – Get Hands On!


In 2013, an estimated 232,340 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed among US women, as well as an estimated 64,640 additional cases of in situ breast cancer.

It is estimated that approximately 39,620 US women are expected to die from breast cancer. Only lung cancer accounts for more cancer deaths in women.

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), breast cancer incidence rates are highest in non-Hispanic white women, followed by African American women and are lowest among Asian/Pacific Islander women. In contrast, breast cancer death rates are highest for African American women, followed by white women. Breast cancer death rates are lowest for Asian/Pacific Islander women. Breast cancer incidence and death rates also vary by state.


If there is any change to how your breasts normally look and feel, it is recommended that you see your board certified medical provider right away. Early detection gives you the best chance for successful treatment. Remember that there is no substitute for regular mammograms or other screening tests as recommended by your physician.


bfwic-breast self exam

Methods for self-examination

Regular self-exams are also recommended. Here are 8- things to check for:

  1. A lump or mass in the breast is the most common symptom of breast cancer. Such lumps are often hard and painless, though some may be painful. Not all lumps are cancer. Some may be a of benign breast conditions (like a cyst) which can cause lumps.
  2. Swelling in or around your breast, collarbone, or armpit. Breast swelling can be caused by inflammatory breast cancer, a particularly aggressive form of the disease.
  3. Swelling or lumps around your collarbone or armpits can be caused by breast cancer that has spread to lymph nodes in those areas. The swelling may occur even before you can feel a lump in your breast, so if you have this symptom, be sure to see a doctor.
  4. Skin thickening or redness. If the skin of your breast starts to feel like an orange peel or gets red, have it checked right away. Often, these are caused by mastitis, a breast infection common among women who are breast feeding. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection. If your symptoms don’t improve after a week, though, get checked again, because these symptoms can also be caused by inflammatory breast cancer. This form of breast cancer can look a lot like a breast infection, and because it grows quickly it’s important to diagnose it as soon as possible.
  5. Breast warmth and itching. Like skin thickening and redness, breast warmth and itching may be symptoms of mastitis – or inflammatory breast cancer. If antibiotics don’t help, see your doctor again.
  6. Nipple changes. Breast cancer can sometimes cause changes to how your nipple looks. If your nipple turns inward, or the skin on it thickens or gets red or scaly, get checked by a doctor right away. All of these can be symptoms of breast cancer.
  7. Nipple discharge. A discharge (other than milk) from the nipple may be alarming, but in most cases it is caused by injury, infection, or a benign tumor. Breast cancer is a possibility, though, especially if the fluid is bloody, so your doctor needs to check it out.
  8. Pain. Although most breast cancers do not cause pain in the breast, some do. More often, women have breast pain or discomfort that is related to their menstrual cycle. This type of pain is most common in the week or so before their periods, and often goes away once menstruation begins. Some other benign breast conditions, such as mastitis, may cause a more sudden pain. In these cases the pain is not related to the menstrual cycle. If you have breast pain that is severe or persists and is not related to the menstrual cycle, you should be checked by your doctor. You could have cancer or a benign condition that needs to be treated.

Again, while benign breast conditions are much more common than breast cancer, it is important to let your health care professional know about any changes in your breast so they can be checked out right away.

For more information about breast cancer, other types of cancer, screenings and treatments, find us at

Source: © 2013 American Cancer Society, Inc. All rights reserved. The American Cancer Society is a qualified 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. is provided courtesy of the Leo and Gloria Rosen family.  Re-use of information found in the American Cancer Society Breast Cancer Facts & Figures publication.