October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Fertility treatment does not increase the risk of breast cancer; however, scientific literature suggests that women who are experiencing infertility are at increased risk of breast cancer.
What can you do?
The best way for early detection of breast cancer is by conducting breast self-exams. In fact, up to 40 per cent of breast cancers are initially detected by women who have felt a lump in their own breasts. Mammograms can help detect cancer before you can feel a lump, breast self-exams help you to be familiar with how your breasts look and feel so you can alert your healthcare professional if there are any changes.
The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation states:
There is no right way or proper technique to being breast aware. You find a way or ways that are comfortable for you.
There is also no time schedule for being breast aware. You do it at a time and in a place that works for you.
Breast awareness is an important part of proactive and preventive health care but it does not claim to save lives or reduce deaths from breast cancer.
For more information on breast self-exams click here.
I can personally attest to the importance of breast self-exam. I found a breast lump during a self-exam that led to early diagnosis and treatment. And now, 18 years later, I can very gratefully call myself a breast cancer survivor. Please take the time to learn and do your own breast self-exam!
Susan Lockhart, PhD, MBA, BScN
Director of Clinical Operations
Genesis Fertility Centre