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Importance of breast self-exams, what you need to know if you find a lump

In the ‘Sinclair Cares’ report, we're focusing on breast cancer awareness and the importance of breast self-exams and what you need to know if you find a lump. (WEYI)

We want to help improve your life by keeping you informed about health matters, which affect you and your family.

Working in partnership with our parent company, Sinclair Broadcast Group, we believe it's a privilege and a responsibility to serve you.

In the ‘Sinclair Cares’ report, we're focusing on breast cancer awareness and the importance of breast self-exams and what you need to know if you find a lump.

Julie Shackett, a travel fanatic always on the go, recently felt something unusual in her breast that stopped her in her tracks.

"It just felt like a hard mass- just different," said Shackett.

Just 36-years-old, she'd never had a mammogram before- but she went in for one, out of precaution.

Shackett said, "I just knew that something wasn't right. It hadn't been there before and it shouldn't be there."

The lump turned out to be breast cancer.

Dr. Molly Sebastian, with Virginia Hospital Center, says many women are intimidated by breast self-exams.

Dr. Sebastian Said, "It's hard for women to know what's normal what's abnormal, what's my normal density and what would something bad feel like?"

She says the key is to do them once a month to establish what your "normal" feels like, so that something abnormal stands out to you.

Look for any change in appearance-- including dimpling of the skin, redness or fluid and feel for changes like lumps, swelling or soreness.

Dr. Sebastian says, "there should never be something as hard as your knuckle in this area."

And if you find something, visit your doctor right away.

Dr. Sebastian said, "We are very effective at treating breast cancer when we catch it early, so that's the goal, early detection."

Julie didn't perform regular self-exams before but says she will now, and encourages other women to do the same.

Shackett said, "It's time we pay attention to our bodies and know what's going on and it really is important to make sure we are checking."

For more information on breast cancer awareness click here.

RELATED LINKS:

When should you get a mammogram?

6 Myths about breast cancer

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