Breast cancer impacts quite a few people across the country, and can be difficult to deal with. Although it primarily affects women who are 45 and older, it can also be present in younger women and even men. Many people know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, or at least notice all of the pink items that start popping up. To kick off this month of awareness, we've decided to share how you can check yourself for breast cancer and what the symptoms are, as well as what you can do to help the fight against breast cancer.

Symptoms and self checks

The National Breast Cancer Foundation has many done many studies to help us recognize symptoms and to check ourselves for breast cancer. There are usually changes in appearance of the breast or nipple as well as changes in how the skin feels. Nipple tenderness and changing in skin textures, such as the pores of your skin becoming larger, are both symptoms. Unexplained size changes, whether it's swelling or shrinking, dimpling of the skin, a red, scaly texture around the areola, inverted nipples, and a recent change in the asymmetry of your breasts are all signs that you need to be checked. And if you're not breastfeeding, any discharge should raise suspicions.

Even if you aren't showing any symptoms, it's important to check yourself for lumps or other differences in your body.

If you do notice symptoms, check right away. One way to check is to lift your arms over your head to see if you notice any changes or discharge. It's easiest to check for lumps while lying down. Use your right hand to check your left breast, and your left hand to check the right. Using your finger pads, check in circular motions about the size of a quarter.

You should check around your breasts, as well as up to your collar bone and armpits, and down to your abdomen. You can also check while standing or sitting. Many have found this is easiest done while in the shower, so that the skin is wet. Use the same circular movements listed before to check your entire breast. Self-checks can be very important to detecting the first stages of breast cancer.

What you can do to help the fight

The best way that you can help is to donate money to good cancer fighting foundations. Always be sure to research a foundation before you donate to them! You can always raise money through fundraising too, which also helps raise awareness. It's important to bring awareness and try to find a cure for breast cancer. While many people overcome it, there are still people that succumb to this illness. Cancer of all kinds can be extremely life threatening, and we have to continue to support the fight against cancer to find a cure. The best way to help is by finding a reputable charity and donating your time and money.