For us nurses to continue to provide quality care to her patients, we must be in good health. Unfortunately, nurses often forget about their most important patient – themselves. Nurses become so wrapped up in caring for others, they forget to take a trip to the doctor for a routine checkup.
Women Dominate the Nursing Industry
While both men and women can become a nurse, it is predominately a female career choice. Statistically, 90 percent of registered nurses in the United States are women. So, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the 3.1 million nurses around the United States should put down their stethoscopes and take a moment to check their titties.
Breast Cancer Statistics: Are Nurses at Risk?
To put the importance of breast cancer screening for nurses into perspective, it helps to look at some overall breast cancer statistics. Roughly 12 percent of women in the United States develop breast cancer. This means 1 out of every 8 women develop invasive breast cancer.
Research predicts that medical professionals will diagnose a little over 250,000 cases of invasive breast cancer every year. Given that there are 3.1 million female registered nurses in the U.S., this puts 300,000 of them at risk of developing breast cancer at some point in time during their lives. We want you to take care of yourself so you can continue to take care of others!
Breast Cancer Self-Exams Are Important
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and while it is important to be aware of breast cancer, it is more important to take proactive steps to detect it. Early detection of cancer is the key to survival. While medical professionals encourage breast cancer screenings and mammograms for women over the age of 50, women of all ages are at risk of it. So, young nurses in their 20s and 30s need to put down their stethoscope from time to time and make breast self-examinations a part of their regular routine.
Self-examination is the easiest way for a woman to get to know her breast and detect when something does not look or feel right. Even though nurses are medical professionals, it is important to remember a self-examination does not replace a doctor visit or a mammogram. Even nurses need to take a trip to the doctor for a routine cancer screening.
After Discovering a Lump
While discovering a lump is alarming, there is no reason to worry. A large portion of breast lumps is benign. Some lumps dissipate and – in younger women – lumps are a common symptom of menstrual periods.
After discovering a lump in your underarm area or on your breast, make an appointment with a doctor no as soon as possible. No matter what. While nurses are medical professionals, we tend to also be a little biased when it comes to our own health. It is always better to get an unbiased second opinion if showing any potential symptoms of breast cancer, regardless of how small they are.
Benign Breast Conditions
Benign breast conditions are not cancerous, but they mimic breast cancer symptoms. Some medical providers use fibrocystic change when discussing the different ranges of benign breast conditions. Sometimes these conditions can cause a significant amount of pain or need treatment. Other times, the condition does not cause any pain or need treatment.
A doctor performs a biopsy to decide whether a lump on a breast is cancerous. According to the American Cancer Society, no one should fear breast biopsies, as they do not usually come back as cancerous in the United States.
For female nurses – and all other women – regular self-breast exams, doctor breast exams, and mammogram screens are important to detect breast cancer early enough to effectively treat it.
For additional statistics and information on breast cancer and nurses, check out our article titled, “Long-term shift work linked with increased breast cancer risk.”