Tips to help women detect breast cancer at an early stage

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Oct. 3, 2015)-- One out of every eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, but there are not always symptoms. Doctors say knowing your body and doing a monthly self-exam can save your life.

“If you detect a breast cancer before it is actually palpable, we call that stage zero or one. Survival is excellent. It is going to be 90-95 percent or more,” said Dr. Erica Giblin of St. Vincent Woman’s Center.

Some women experience uncommon symptoms like discoloration, persistent breast pain in one spot, or changes in the color of the skin. Those are some of the more uncommon signs that you could have breast cancer.

“Some women will notice a dimple starting in the skin and it starts to pooch in almost like a divot. That is abnormal. That means the skin is being pulled down by something inside of the breast…they need to see their doctor,” said Dr. Giblin.

Doing a monthly self-exam can help women find breast cancer.

“You take your fingers, the pads of the fingers and you start pushing gently on the breast so you can test the tissues that are superficial right beneath the skin. Then you push harder so you can feel the deeper tissues of the breast,” said Dr. Giblin.

Doctors say mammograms are also extremely helpful in finding breast cancer at an early age because they can detect cancers before they are actually palpable. For those that do not do a monthly self-breast exam, doctors say the opportunity for cancer grows.

“By the time most women palpate their nodule, it is greater than two centimeters. What does that mean? It puts you at stage two breast cancer,” said Dr. Giblin.

Doctors say taking action now protects your health.

“Be your own advocate, because if you do feel something. You may have saved your life,” said Dr. Giblin.

Health experts say exercising for two hours a week can decrease your chances of developing breast cancer from 5-15 percent.

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