Breast Cancer Awareness Month: 3 Steps to Early Detection

A bit of a departure from our typical post,  we feel it is important to share important health information from a variety of resources on relevant topics beyond Orthopedics and bone health. In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we’d like to share a few tips regarding early detection. There’s a good chance you or someone you know will be affected by this disease in their lifetime and early detection is the key to better outcomes. Please share this information with the women in your life.

From the National Breast Cancer Foundation 

Help Detect Breast Cancer Earlier  

This year, over 250,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. The good news is that when breast cancer is detected early, it can be treated more successfully, increasing the chances for survival.

It is important to know the signs and symptoms of what could potentially be breast cancer. To help with this, National Breast Cancer Foundation has identified three steps you can take to be proactive about your breast health and help increase your chances of detecting breast cancer early.

This potentially life-saving information can be found in our free guide, 3 Steps to Early Detection. This free resource helps you answer three important questions:

  1. What should I look for if I examine my own breast?
  2. When should I see my doctor?
  3. When and how often should I get a mammogram?


From  Atrio Health Plans

Three Steps to Early Detection

If there are eight American women in a room, one will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. In 2016 alone, it’s estimated that more than 246,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in the United States, along with 61,000 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer.

There also are incredibly encouraging breast-cancer statistics. For example, when breast cancer is detected early and in a localized stage, the five-year relative survival rate is 100 percent.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and ATRIO Health Plans wants women to know that there are proactive steps they can take to detect breast cancer when it’s most treatable.

Step One: Be Aware of Potential Symptoms

Step one is being aware of potential breast-cancer symptoms. If you have any of the symptoms listed below, contact your healthcare provider promptly; chances are good that cancer is not the cause, but it’s worth your time to make an appointment if you notice:

  • unusual nipple tenderness;
  • changes in areola, nipple, or breast-skin texture, including enlarged pores, pitting, or reddened scaling;
  • a lump in/near the breast or underarm;
  • any unexplained change in the size or shape of a breast;
  • swelling of the breast, particularly if on only one side;
  • decrease in breast size, especially if just one breast is impacted;
  • a nipple that has turned slightly inward or become inverted;
  • Skin of the breast, areola, or nipple has become scaly, red, or swollen; also may have ridges or pitting resembling the skin of an orange;
  • nipple discharges, particularly if they’re clear or bloody.

Step Two: Self-Exam

A woman’s next line of defense is performing monthly breast self-exams:

  • In the shower – Move the pads of your fingers in a circular pattern from the outside to the center of each breast and armpit area. If a lump, thickening, or a hard knot is detected, contact your healthcare provider.
  • In front of a mirror – Visually inspect your breasts, first with arms at your sides, then raised overhead. Keep an eye out for changes in breast as well as nipple shape, swelling, and skin dimpling; pay particular attention to changes occurring in just one breast.
  • Lying down – With a pillow under your right shoulder and your right arm behind your head, move the finger pads on your left hand in a circular motion over the entirety of your right breast and armpit area; gently squeeze the nipple to test for discharge. Follow the same steps on your left breast.

Step Three: Mammogram and Clinical Exam

Women’s most effective early detection weapons are regularly scheduled mammogram screenings and clinical breast exams.

Mammograms often can uncover a breast lump before it can be felt. They also can point to potential abnormal cells. Current guidelines are:

  • Women 40 and older should have mammograms every one or two years.
  • Women who are younger than 40, and have breast-cancer-risk factors, should ask their healthcare professional how often they should have a mammogram.

A clinical breast exam is performed by a healthcare professional trained to recognize breast abnormalities. Most often, this exam is conducted by your primary care physician or gynecologist as part of an annual assessment.

October is the ideal month for women to empower themselves and take proactive steps to preserve their breast health.



New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.