Evelyn Lauder, a pioneering activist in breast cancer awareness has passed due to complications of non-genetic ovarian cancer. As daughter in law to Estee Lauder, Evelyn used her position in society to found the pink ribbon campaign with help from former Self Magazine editor Alexandra Penney. She also helped raise over $330 million for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and helped create the Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, which opened in 2009.
In honor of her work we want to take moment remind everyone of the importance of regular self-exams and breast exams by a health care professional. Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women and the 3rd most common cancer women die from; by catching it early it easier to treat and less likely to result in death.
Although breast cancer is hard to prevent there are some things you can do to reduce your risk of developing it. Some of the things you can do are: limit your alcohol intake, manage your weight, and exercise regularly. For more information specific to your risk level consult your local health care provider. They are always your best source of health care information.
Self-exams are relatively easy to perform and should be done once a month if you are over the age of 20. If you have a menstrual cycle, you should do one a few says after your cycle ends in order to ensure your breast are not swollen or tender. The basic methods are:
Facing a mirror
Stand before a mirror and compare both breasts for differences in size, nipple inversion (turning In), bulging, or dimpling. Note any skin or nipple changes, such as a hard knot or nipple discharge.
Inspect your breasts in the following 4 steps:
With your arms at your sides
With your arms overhead
With your hands on hips – Press firmly to flex your chest muscles.
Bent forward – Inspect your breasts.
In these positions, your pectoral muscles are contracted, and a subtle dimpling of the skin may appear if a growing tumor has affected a ligament.
Place a pillow under your right shoulder.
Put your right hand under your head.
Check the entire breast area with the finger pads of your left hand.
Use small circles and follow an up-and-down pattern.
Use light, medium, and firm pressure over each area of the breast.
Feel the breast with the surfaces of the second, third, and fourth fingers, moving systematically and using small, circular motions from the nipple to the outer margins.
Gently squeeze the nipple for any discharge.
Repeat these steps on your left breast using your right hand.
In the shower
A BSE can easily be performed while you’re in the bath or shower. Some women discover breast masses when their skin is moist.
Raise your right arm.
With soapy hands and fingers flat, check your right breast.
Use the same small circles and up-and-down pattern described earlier.
Repeat on the left breast.
Don’t forget to wear your pink ribbons in honor of all the work Evelyn Lauder put into breast cancer awareness.