A Lesson Learned From Giuliana Rancic’s Breast Cancer Journey

guiliana-rancicE! News anchor Giuliana Rancic knows firsthand the importance of getting mammograms before turning 40.

At just 37 years of age, the TV personality was diagnosed with the early stages of breast cancer. She initially went through a double lumpectomy, before making the final decision to undergo a double mastectomy. All before the age of 40.

In an exclusive interview with Glamour magazine, Giuliana reveals her thoughts on the initial diagnosis: “I knew nothing about breast cancer before this happened to me, and I thought mastectomy meant stage three or four cancer. I didn’t have a big family history of it. I just never thought it would happen to me. I really didn’t.”

Breast cancer is a serious matter. It’s never too early to begin checking for lumps. According to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, 5% of all breast cancers occur in women under 40. This may not seem like a high number, but when there are over 226,000 women being diagnosed with breast cancer each year, 5% equates to roughly 11,000. That’s 11,000 women under 40 being diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S. alone.

So what can you do to prevent a missed diagnosis as a young woman? Start checking early, and regularly. If you have a family history of breast cancer, consider starting your annual mammograms before you turn 40. Detecting breast cancer early is the best way to lower your risk and fully eradicate the disease.

It’s also never too early to perform self-exams. You should be familiar with the way your breasts normally look and feel. This will allow you to catch warning signs of breast cancer early.

When performing a self-exam, be on the lookout for the following:

  • Lump, hard knot, or thickening inside the breast or underarm area
  • Swelling, warmth, redness, or darkening of the breast
  • Change in the size or shape of the breast
  • Dimpling or puckering of the skin
  • Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
  • Pulling in of the nipple or other parts of the breast
  • Nipple discharge that starts suddenly
  • New pain in one spot that doesn’t go away

*All information above is provided by the Susan G. Komen Foundation

Educate your friends and daughters on the importance of detecting breast cancer early, and make sure they’re aware of the risks. Remember—breast cancer knows no age.

Follow Giuliana on Twitter today to stay up- to-date with on journey through breast cancer, motherhood and life!


Important Self-Exams Every Woman Should Perform

Image to the left taken from Cancer.org.


Self-exams help you to detect changes in your body between visits to your doctor. Many lives have been saved due to diligent self-examination, and following are two self-exams you’ll want to perform regularly.

BSE or breast self-exam

Each woman has her own method of examining her breasts. Some do a systematic BSE monthly or bimonthly, while others keep an eye on their breasts by regularly feeling them in the shower or while lying in bed. Often, women ask their significant others to help them check, or they visit the doctor several times a year for a clinical exam.

While a regular BSE with a consistent technique is best, perfect technique is not as important as frequency and diligence. Sometimes, women stress needlessly about doing it correctly. As long as you feel the entire breast and overlap your motions, you’re doing it right. The goal of a BSE is to know what is normal for you and check for changes.

If you’re not sure whether you’re feeling the entire breast, cancer.org suggests the following BSE routine:

  • Lie down and bend your arm behind your head to spread the breast tissue evenly over your chest, making it easier to examine.
  • Imagine your breast is divided in vertical lines from your underarm to breastbone, and use the finger pads of your other hand to feel for lumps in an up-and-down pattern along those lines. Move in dime-sized circles, slightly overlapping the previous line as you move up and down.
  • Use different levels of pressure at each spot so you feel all the breast tissue, especially if you have large breasts. You can feel the tissue close to the skin with light pressure, tissue in the upper half of the breast with medium pressure, and lower breast tissue with deeper pressure. There will be a ridge at the bottom of each breast, which is normal. If you have questions about pressure, talk with your doctor or nurse.
  • Examine the entire breast area, and then repeat the exam on your other breast.
  • Stand in front of a mirror, press your hands on your hips, and look at your breasts for changes in shape or size. Also look for rashes, redness, or dimpling.
  • Raise each arm slightly, and feel the underarm for lumps.

Some women may find it easier to examine their breasts in the shower, which is fine, as long as you are thorough—or add this routine to your shower exam. Current medical literature suggests that the above procedure is the most effective for finding lumps as soon as possible.

Skin exam

A regular skin exam will help you keep an eye on moles, freckles, and other spots that could become cancerous. It should be done at least once a month, and if you ask your doctor to do a full-body exam first, you’ll have a baseline. While it may sound daunting, after you’ve done a full skin exam a couple of times, it shouldn’t take more than 10–15 minutes.

Warning signs of skin cancer include a change in an existing mole or spot, or any growth or spot that . . .

  • Appears during adulthood.
  • Increases in size or thickness.
  • Changes in texture or in color—especially if it turns pearly, multicolored, brown, or black.
  • Has an irregular shape or outline.
  • Is bigger than a pencil eraser.
  • Continues to hurt, itch, scab, or bleed longer than three weeks.

If you see any of these signs, don’t wait or hope it goes away. See a doctor, preferably a dermatologist.

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