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National Spotlight

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Breast Self Awareness

Except for skin cancers, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, but it can be successfully treated. Screening tests can find cancer early, when it’s most treatable.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure® recommends that you:

1. Know your risk
       - Talk to your family to learn about your family health history
       - Talk to your provider about your personal risk of breast cancer

2. Get screened
       - Ask your doctor which screening tests are right for you if you are at a higher risk 
       - Have a mammogram every year starting at age 40 if you are at average risk 
       - Have a clinical breast exam at least every 3 years starting at 20, and every year starting at 40

3. Know what is normal for you
    See your health care provider right away if you notice any of these breast changes:
       - Lump, hard knot or thickening 
       - Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening 
       - Change in the size or shape of the breast 
       - Dimpling or puckering of the skin 
       - Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple 
       - Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast 
       - Nipple discharge that starts suddenly 
       - New pain in one spot that doesn’t go away

4. Make healthy lifestyle choices
       - Maintain a healthy weight 
       - Add exercise into your routine 
       - Limit alcohol intake

Breast Self-Awareness (BSA) Cards
Susan G. Komen for the Cure® offers a variety of BSA cards in different languages and for specific populations. You can download and print BSA cards for yourself.

Breast Self-Awareness (BSA) Interactive Tool
Women should be aware of how their breasts normally look and feel. Knowing what is normal for you may enable you to note changes in your breast in the time between your yearly mammogram and/or clinical breast exam.  Breast self-exam (BSE) is a tool that may help you become familiar with the way your breasts normally look and feel.  BSE involves looking at and feeling your breasts. Women who practice BSE should also be sure to get mammograms and clinical breast exams at the appropriate age. BSE should not be substituted for these screening tests. For more information on BSE and screening methods, visit our National website: Early Detection & Screening.

This tool developed in English, Spanish, Hindi and most recently Chinese, will help you learn and promote breast self-awareness. It will also teach you how to look and feel for any changes in your breasts. Visit our National Website to view this interactive instructional tool.