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Breast Cancer Early Detection Plan

Breast Cancer Early Detection Plan


Breast cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the breast. The damaged cells can invade surrounding tissue, but with early detection and treatment, most people continue a normal life.


  • One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.
  • Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women.
  • Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among women.
  • Each year it is estimated that over 220,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 will die.
  • Although breast cancer in men is rare, an estimated 2,150 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and approximately 410 will die each year.

Create a Breast Cancer Early Detection Plan

The best way to fight breast cancer is to have a plan that helps you detect the disease in its early stages. Create your Breast Cancer Early Detection Plan to receive reminders to do breast self-exams, and schedule your clinical breast exams and mammograms based on your age and health history.

When breast cancer is detected early, in the localized stage, the 5-year survival rate is 98 percent. Clinical exams and breast self-awareness are important methods of early breast cancer detection and should be performed along with mammography. All three of these methods provide complete breast cancer screening.

How Often Should I Have a Clinical Breast Exam? (Mammogram)

You should have a clinical breast exam every one to three years starting at age 20 and every year starting at age 40. A clinical breast exam may be recommended more frequently if you have a strong family history of breast cancer.

When Should I Schedule a Clinical Breast Exam?

Breast exams are best performed soon after your menstrual period ends, because your breasts will not be as tender and swollen as during your period. This makes it easier to detect any unusual changes. If you have stopped menstruating, schedule the yearly exam on a day that’s easy for you to remember, such as your birthday.

Steps for a Breast Self-Exam

Have you ever performed a breast self-exam? If not, do yourself a favor by learning how to perform a breast self-exam, and do it regularly, along with getting annual doctor exams.

  1. Find a private place to disrobe down to the waist.
  2. Lie down so that your body is completely horizontal. Use a pillow under your back on the side you are examining. When examining your right breast, tuck your right hand behind your neck and use your left hand to examine the right breast and right underarm area.
  3. Using the pads of the tips of your fingers, gently press sections of your breast. There are several effective methods to thoroughly cover all of the breast tissue area, which extends up under your arms. Choose one method, and use it every time rather than varying methods. Look at one of your breasts and picture it as a clock face, wagon wheel, or farm field.
  4. Starting at the 12 o’clock position, make tiny circular motions with the pads of your fingers, moving toward the one o’clock position of the clock face pattern on your breast. Continue around the breast in this way until you arrive back at the top, or 12 o’clock.



How to Communicate With Older Adults

How to Communicate With Older Adults

When working with older adults, age-related health problems can present a barrier to effective communication. Chronic conditions, such as dementia and hearing loss, as well as the effects of medication can complicate conversations and understanding for the resident. During periods of diminished lucidity, interactions can create a frustrating and seemingly helpless experience. However, there are techniques you can use to communicate with older adults to help facilitate better interaction and create a communication-friendly environment.

  • 1. Know your patient.

    Always be patient and attentive with the patients for whom you are caring. It is your job to help them. That is why they are here and that is why you are here.

  • communicating with elderly people

    Photo by alumni anciens

    2. Be aware of the person’s health issues.

    Older adults may have health problems that add difficulty to speaking and understanding. Be sure you consider the person’s health before you engage in communication. For example, they may have hearing problems, speech problems, and memory loss. These factors complicate communication. And remember, chronological age is not always a true indicator of a person’s ability to communicate.

  • 3. Be aware of the environment in which you communicate with older adults.

    Be sure to evaluate the environment in which you are communicating, which might have an effect on hearing and speech problems. Is there any loud or disturbing background noise? Are too many people speaking in the same room? Is there any loud music? Are there any distractions that could affect your communication? Ask the older adult if the environment is comfortable for them. If you sense any disturbance, try to move to a more peaceful and quiet location.

  • 4. Speak slowly, clearly and articulately, and make good eye contact.

    It is important to articulate your words and speak clearly. Direct your speech at the individual’s face – not to their back or side. If the patient is sitting down or lying in a bed come down to their level. Move your mouth and pronounce each word carefully and precisely. When your tongue “moves” inside your mouth, you articulate more clearly. If your tongue does not move, you are most likely not articulating as well as you could.

  • how to communicate with older adults

    Photo by PANationalGuard

    5. Adjust the volume of your voice appropriately.

    Learn to adapt your voice to the needs of the individual. Evaluate the environment and how it relates to the person’s hearing abilities. Don’t shout simply because the listener is older. Treat the individual with respect by articulating and speaking at a comfortable volume that is suitable for both of you.

  • 6. Use clear and precise questions and sentences.

    Do not hesitate to repeat or rephrase your sentences and questions if you sense the patient is not understanding. Complicated/long questions and sentences may confuse older adults who have short-term memory or hearing loss. Be short, clear, and precise. It is easier to comprehend.

  • 7. Use direct questions.

    “Did you have soup for lunch?” or “Did you have salad for lunch?” Instead of: “What did you have for lunch?” The more precise you are in your language, the less difficulty the elderly have in understanding.

  • 8. Limit your sentences and questions to as little words as possible.

    Don’t use slang or filler words and phrases (“Like,” “well,” and “you know” are a few examples.) Keep your sentences brief and direct to the point.

  • communicating with old people

    Photo by wishymom

    9. Use visual aids, if possible.

    If an older adult has a hearing or memory problem, it is important to be creative. Visual aids help. Show the individual what or who you are talking about by pointing. For example, it may be better to say, “Is there any pain in your back (pointing to your back)? Is there any pain in your stomach (pointing to your stomach)?” instead of simply asking “Do you have any pain or discomfort?”

  • 10. Take it slow, be patient, and smile.

    A sincere smile shows that you are understanding. It also creates a friendly environment in which to communicate. Remember to pause between sentences and questions. Give the individual an opportunity to understand the information and questions. This is a particularly valuable technique if a person has memory loss. When you pause, you show respect and patience.

  • 11. Always be patient and attentive with the residents you are caring for.

    It is your job to help them. That is why they are here and that is why you are here.


Tips for Senior Safety in the Sun

Tips for Senior Safety in the Sun

All of us want to enjoy the beautiful, hot sun during the summer months in Pittsburgh.  Unfortunately, the summer sunshine, UV rays and heat also can bring a few dangers, especially for seniors, including sunburn, eye damage, dehydration, heat exhaustion and more.

With some precautionary steps and healthy senior personal care, everyone can enjoy the blue skies and warm weather. The following are some TIPS on how to protect your skin from the sun to avoid skin cancer, protect your eyes, and stay healthy on those days spent outdoors.  Your skin is a precious organ that needs tender loving care that only you can provide!

  • Use a sunscreen that has at least 15 or higher SPF (sun protection factor).  For elderly with fragile, sensitive or pale skin, 30 SPF is recommended.
  • Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes prior to going into the sun if possible.  Apply sunscreen to all of the skin that will be exposed.  Re-apply sunscreen at least every 2 hours.  Apply immediately after swimming or exercise.  You should use sunscreen on any sunny day, even in fall and winter.
  • Stay out of the midday sun if possible.  Find shade between 10 AM and 4PM.  Use the shadow rule:  A shadow that is longer than you means UV (ultraviolet) exposure is low; a shadow that is shorter than you means that the UV exposure is high. UV rays are the dangerous ones that cause sun burn and skin cancer.
  • Wear a hat with wide 4 inch brims that cover your neck, ears, eyes and scalp.
  • Wear wrap-around sunglasses with UVA and UVB ray protection. Glasses reduce the cumulative effect of damage linked to cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
  • Use lip-balm or cream that has an SPF of 15 or higher to protect your lips from getting chaffed, sunburned or developing cold sores.
  • Turn on your air conditioning: Air conditioning is important when it is hot and humid outside. During a heat wave, if you don’t have central air or a room air conditioner, spend part or most of each day at locations with air condition, including a friend’s house, shopping mall, senior center, or movie theater.
  • Watch for heat stroke: It is extremely important to watch for signs of heat stroke, especially for seniors. Some signs to look for include confusion, disorientation, dry skin, excessive tiredness, headache, lethargy, nausea, and a rapid pulse. If you or someone you know experiences these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.
  • Check on friends and family: Use the rising temperatures as an opportunity to catch up with your neighbors and relatives, especially the elderly and those who do not have air conditioning. Plan outings together in places that have air conditioning.
  • Review your medications: Many seniors use medications daily. Some medications can cause side effects, like increased sensitivity to UV rays. Review all medications and check with a doctor or pharmacist for any questions.
  • Drink plenty of fluids: Aim to drink 6 to 8 glasses of water per day. By the time you are thirsty, your body is already dehydrated. For seniors, the feeling of thirst decreases as we age, so be sure to increase your water intake if you are exercising or doing any type of prolonged physical activity. Of those fluids you are taking in, be sure they are non-alcoholic and decaffeinated. Carbonated sodas and pops may taste good, but they will only further your dehydration

Photo by Liam Moloney

General Sunburn Safety

If you do get sunburned, your skin may become warm, red, and blistered (in extreme cases). The area may be painful and feel itchy at times. If the pain is too much, the CDC recommends aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen. A cool shower or bath may also relieve the pain. Aloe Vera gels or creams can soothe and moisturize the skin after the bath. Since sunburns can dehydrate your body, increase your fluid intake for the next two to three days.  You can also use cold water and ice packs to ease the pain and relieve swelling and redness to the affected areas.  Never burst or pop blisters that form, this can increase your chances of an infection.  In severe cases that do not heal with the above remedies, make sure you see your doctor.

General Skin Safety

Regularly inspect your skin in the mirror or with help from your doctor. Report skin abnormalities to your doctor such as:

  • Rashes that do not go away
  • Changes in the shape or size of a mole
  • Abnormal redness, blistering, or bruising over a bony area
  • Rashes that are raised, red or have scaly patches