Self-exams, screenings can save lives

Published 12:57 pm Tuesday, October 10, 2017

You may have noticed an explosion of pink over the past week… more pink scarves, pink shirts, pink socks on athletes even pink ribbons at the Clark County Courthouse.

This increase in all-things pink can be attributed to the start of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is recognized throughout October each year.

These pink items — everything from apparel to appliances — serve as symbols of an increased awareness about a disease that 1 in 8 U.S. women and 1 in 1,000 U.S. men will develop in their lifetime.

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While all the pink helps raise awareness and causes to reflect on those people who have fought cancer and won and others who lost their battle, they can also serve as reminders to all of us about precautions we can take.

According to, “These sweet, pink pastels are there to nudge us, saying ‘Hey, don’t forget to examine your breasts, get your doctor to check them out too, and schedule your mammogram.’

The Centers for Disease Control shares this information about breast cancer: “Both women and men can get breast cancer, though it is much more common in women. Other than skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States. Some women are at higher risk for breast cancer than others because of their personal or family medical history or because of certain changes in their genes.”

One of the best tools in the fight against breast cancer is early detection through screening and self-exams.

Women who are 50 to 74 years old and are at average risk for breast cancer should get a mammogram at least every two years (although many health care providers recommend annual exams). Women who are 40 to 49 years old should talk to their doctor or other health care professional about when to start and how often to get a mammogram. Mammograms are the best way to find breast cancer early when it is easier to treat and before it is big enough to feel or cause symptoms. Having regular mammograms can lower the risk of dying from breast cancer.

Other screenings can be done using MRI, but generally only in high-risk cases.

You can get screened for breast cancer at a clinic, hospital, or doctor’s office. If you want to be screened for breast cancer, call your doctor’s office.

Clark Regional Medical Center and the Clark County Health Department offer mammography and breast cancer screening services.

At home, self-exams are a useful tool. Being familiar with how your breasts look and feel can help you notice symptoms such as lumps, pain, or changes in size that may be of concern. These could include changes found during a breast self-exam. You should report any changes that you notice to your doctor or health care provider.

There is a plethora of other information about self-exams, screening guidelines, what to look for and more at or

Along with the many pink reminders, this is our reminder and a little nudge to please take care of yourself. Follow these guidelines and seek care from a doctor if you notice something different, painful or out of the ordinary.

One screening a year, one appointment, one self-exam could mean the difference in life and death.