Breast Cancer Awareness

In light of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the ongoing need for health promotion and disease prevention, I've returned to share insight on breast cancer. For more that 5 years I worked in Hematology/Leukemia on a floor that seen far too many young adults. I believe optimism bias and small statistics leads us millennial to believe that it just can't or won't affect us; however, this belief is far from the truth. While 95 percent of cases are in women over 40, the 5% of women who are diagnose under 40 is real.

Numbers surrounding breast cancer are astounding as well as frightening but the good news is that awareness brings about change. Early detection saves lives – ” 96% of women who find and treat breast cancer early will be cancer free after 5 years.”


Breast Cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer (other than skin) among United States women and accounts for 29% of newly diagnosed cancers annually.

Predominantly effects women (men can get it too, especially the obese)

Average age at diagnosis is 61 (risk increase with age) however AA women are diagnosed and die much younger

“A women living in the US has a 1 in 8 lifetime risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer.”


Common-PAINLESS lump or mass in breast or underarm

Rare– spontaneous discharge, inverted nipple, pain, redness, swelling or thickening of skin or nipple


Average Risk: Age, family history, early menarche, late menopause, used of combined estrogen and progestin postmenopausal hormones, alcohol consumption

High Risk: Have a known BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation, have a first degree relative with breast cancer, had previous radiation therapy to chest between the ages of 10-30 years


*Self Breast Exam: Monthly starting at age 20 years.

Ladies...and gents! I can't stress the need for routine! Where do you self-check? I believe the shower is a great place as you are already in position.

Getting familiar with your tata's tone, texture shape and weight will enable you to quickly access when something has changed.

*Clinical Breast Exam: A clinical breast exam is recommended 3 years starting at age 20-39 years. Annually starting at age 40+

*Mammogram: Guidlines vary from one institution to the next:

- Annual exams for women 45-55

-Every other year for ages 55-74 years (unless high risk)

  • US Preventive Service Task Service

  • American Cancer Society

I visited Real Talk Atlanta last week to discuss risk factors, statistics and unlikely candidates of breast cancer. Check out the full video below!

Thanks for stopping by. If you haven't yet, subscribe to the site or become a site member for for everything The Nurse Julia!