Check Yourself is a global movement that aims to raise awareness and start conversations about how women and men can take action for their own breast health through screening, detection and treatment. Screening guidelines vary by country and media reports about early detection can sometimes be confusing. This campaign is intended to help you better understand some of the common factors that can influence your personal breast cancer risk, and teach you not only about your risk, but also what actions you can take starting today! View the educational material below and spread the word on social media to as many women and men as possible.

1. Women’s Shared Risks

It probably comes as no surprise that being a woman is the greatest risk factor associated with breast cancer. Yes, men can get breast cancer, but they account for only 1% of cases diagnosed annually. Other general risk factors relate to age and certain ethnic backgrounds.

2. Your Risk

Your personal breast cancer risk is based on many specific factors. Some are biological, others are lifestyle related and can be managed. Knowing your own unique set of risk factors is a critical step of Check Yourself and of being proactive when it comes to your breast health.

 

3. Lower Your Risk

Many breast cancer risk factors are in your control, including those related to diet, alcohol and hormone replacement use, tobacco consumption and exposure to certain environmental elements. Learn about the important steps you can take to improve your health and lower your risk for breast cancer.

4. Screening Strategies

Confused by screening guidelines and media headlines? You’re not alone. That’s why it’s so important to know your risk factors and your body. Armed with this information, a doctor can help you to determine when to start screening, how often to screen and what screening tests to use.

 

5. Understand Early Detection

Experts generally agree that the earlier a breast cancer is found, the better the chances for a positive outcome. Yet, the diagnostic tools and screening processes are not perfect. Also, there are some types of breast cancer that no matter how small the group of cells are when you find them, they still can be aggressive, spread to other parts of the body and not respond well to therapy.

6. Role of Biopsies

After an initial screening, a doctor may suggest a breast biopsy, where a small piece of tissue is extracted for testing. There are a number of different types of biopsies. Check out our comparison chart for a description of each procedure, accuracy rates, the use of stitches, scars and future mammograms, the use of anesthesia and recovery.

 

7. Post-Diagnosis

The period following a breast cancer diagnosis is about education, options and decisions. You need to partner with your doctor and learn as much as possible about your type of breast cancer, specific telltale “markers” and treatment options.

8. Right Actions, Best Outcome

Many types of support are available to you. Learn about resources to help you face daily challenges related to work, family care, even transportation to medical appointments, as well as options for counseling and financial assistance.

 

 This website was created for educational purposes only and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Be sure to partner with your medical provider to develop the best personal care plan for you. Adapted from the American Cancer Society, 2013-2014 Breast Cancer Facts & Figures. Special thanks to Novartis for sponsoring this project.