Know the Signs: Detect Breast Cancer Early with This 3-Step Plan

The National Breast Cancer Foundation answers common questions about early detection plans.

Information and education are powerful tools in the fight against breast cancer, and the Orgullosa community is committed to ensuring that every Latina knows the risks and signs to watch for. Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death among Hispanic women, often because it is detected at a later stage. This makes an early detection plan invaluable.

This FAQ from the National Breast Cancer Foundation reviews what an early detection plan is, how it works and where you can get more information. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and arm yourself with the facts. Your wellness – and perhaps even your life – depends on it.

Q: What is an early detection plan?
A: An early detection plan enables you to be proactive about your health by reminding you to perform regular breast self-exams and schedule clinical breast exams and mammograms, depending on your age and health history.

We take a three-step approach:

  1. Conduct a breast self-exam once a month. Nearly 70 percent of all abnormalities are found through self-exams. If you do find a lump, don’t panic – eight out of 10 lumps are not cancerous. Make an appointment with your doctor and have it checked out
  2. Have a clinical breast exam performed by a physician or nurse trained to evaluate breast problems every one to three years. During that exam, the healthcare professional will look for differences in the size or shape of your breasts and check your breasts using the same finger-touch technique that is used for self-exams
  3. If you’re over 40 years old, schedule a yearly mammogram (an X-ray of the breast). It’s safe and it detects tumors and other abnormalities

Q: Why do I need one?
A: By following an early detection plan, you’ll increase your chances of detecting breast cancer in its early stages, which gives you the best chance of survival.

Q: How do I get started?

A: Go to and sign up. After you do, you’ll receive the reminders that work best for you – whether through email alerts, calendar reminders, text messages or a downloaded PDF of your plan.

Q: When doing a self-exam, what should I look or feel for in my breast?
A: The development of a lump, swelling, skin irritation or dimpling, nipple pain or irritation, or discharge other than breast milk.

Q: Are there other things I can do to reduce the risk of some cancers?
A: Yes. Experts recommend eating five servings of fruit or veggies a day, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, limiting alcohol intake to one drink a day and not smoking.

Q: When should I begin checking for breast cancer?
A: You should start self-exams at age 20 and have a clinical breast exam every three years. At age 40, you should add a mammogram annually.

Q: How do I get a mammogram?
A: Talk to a health professional or go to the following websites:

  1. National Breast Cancer Foundation
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  3. National Cancer Institute

Q: Where can I get more breast cancer information?
A: Here!

When it comes to breast cancer, knowledge truly is power. Share this article with someone you love.


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