Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Raising awareness on early detection

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Kylie Barrow
  • 4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Seymour Johnson Air Force Base - - Since 1985, Breast Cancer Awareness Month is recognized every year during October.

According to the Union for International Cancer Control, breast cancer is the most diagnosed cancer and the leading cause of death in women worldwide. It is also the most commonly diagnosed cancer around the globe, according to the Global Cancer Observatory.

“With breast cancer now the most common cancer globally and the most likely reason a woman will die from cancer,” said Dr. Ben Anderson, Worldwide Health Organization cancer control medical officer. “Countries need to embrace the concept of improving breast cancer outcomes if they are going to address cancer as a health priority.”

When it comes to breast cancer, early detection is critical, and self-examination is the most common first step for early detection. People are advised to begin self examinations in their early 20’s in order to become familiar with their anatomy and how it changes. Self examination should begin by lying on your back since it is easier to examine all breast tissue if you are lying down. Place your right hand behind your head. With the middle fingers of your left hand, gently yet firmly press down using small motions to examine the entire right breast. Repeat the process on the left breast. Look for changes in skin texture, such as dimpling, puckering, indentations, or skin that looks like an orange peel. Your goal is to get used to the feel of your breasts. This will help you to find anything new or different. If you do, contact your provider right away.

Although the 4th Medical Group does not currently perform screening mammograms or ultrasounds, they work with the Carolina Breast Imaging Specialists of Goldsboro where they schedule members and veterans mammogram appointments.

The Carolina Breast Imaging Specialist of Goldsboro said that around age 40, the likelihood of breast cancer increases and recommends to begin regularly scheduled visits with a doctor. This ensures the patient will receive regular screening mammograms, while continuing to conduct self-examinations at home. However, if there is a family history of breast cancer, a doctor may advise a patient to begin screenings sooner.

“If you notice any changes, do not wait, go get checked immediately,” said Stefanie Murdaugh, Carolina Breast Imaging Specialists Goldsboro office manager. “Early detection is the key in finding and treating breast cancer.”