February is Self-Check Awareness Month
Learn more about the importance of looking over your own body before ever stepping into a doctor's office to identify concerns and take control of your health!
What does it mean?
Self-check simply means examining your own body to identify any potential health concerns such as a lump in the breast or a suspicious mole on the skin. Any time you have used a thermometer to determine whether you had a fever would be a self-check. These at-home procedures are safe and simple to perform.
Why a self-check?
Completing regular self-checks can be a crucial step in identifying and treating a disease in its earliest stages, to avoid more severe outcomes in the future. The kinds of self-checks you perform most often may depend on personal characteristics such as age, sex, or family medical history.
Checking for Cancer
Here is a list of the most common cancers that can be screened for in a self-check as well as information about each. Click the link under each one for an easy guide on how to perform the appropriate self-check. These self-checks do not require any equipment to perform.
Breast cancer begins in the breast as abnormal cells that can reproduce quickly and spread to other parts of the body. 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.
The number of oral cancer cases diagnosed each year has increased by almost 50 percent over the past decade. Common symptoms include pain or discomfort in the mouth, bleeding from the mouth, and teeth that become loose.
The most common form of cancer, skin cancer, has many types that affect the treatment plan and outlook if diagnosed. Fortunately, you may be able to detect it early if you check your skin regularly and know what to look for.
Testicular cancer is a highly curable disease with a 95 percent survival rate. However, there are no routine screenings to detect the disease in men, so regular self-exams are the best way to detect testicular cancer early.
If you’re interested, here are some other conditions that can be checked for from the comfort of your home. These do require some equipment and test kits that can be found at your local pharmacy to be used for free or purchased.
HIV is a sexually-transmitted infection that cannot be cured. Test kits are available for purchase at many pharmacies if you think you may have been exposed. However, an official diagnosis should be made by a medical provider.
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can be a sign of poor heart health and should be monitored regularly, especially in older adults. Blood pressure cuffs are available for use for free at most pharmacies but can also be purchased for at-home use.