Learning about breast cancer detection can potentially save your life. Early detection of breast cancer provides the best chance for optimal treatment outcomes. For the last several decades, breast cancer awareness initiatives have helped to reduce deaths from breast cancer. To ensure breast cancer patients receive appropriate care, educational efforts on breast cancer detection continue to remain relevant.
Breast self-examination can enable breast cancer detection. Breast self-exam is ideally performed after each menstrual cycle when the breast tissue is least likely to be swollen.
To perform breast self-examination, look at your breasts in the mirror. Check that they are their normal size, shape and color. Look for signs of breast cancer, which include:
- Bulging, dimpling or puckering of the skin.
- Changes in the position of your nipple.
- Nipple discharge.
- Redness, rash or swelling.
While laying down, feel your breasts. With your index and middle finger, press firmly against your breast investigate for lumps using small, circular motions. If you feel a lump during physical examination or see any signs of breast cancer during visual examination, contact your physician immediately.
Although breast self-examination can enable early breast cancer detection, routine checkups are equally important. Women should receive clinical breast examination every three years beginning in their 20s.
At age 40, women should begin receiving a clinical breast examination annually. A clinical breast examination is similar to breast self-examination. However, your physician may be more likely to notice subtle changes that could indicate breast cancer.
Most women should begin receiving annual screening mammograms at the age of 40. Some women at high risk for breast cancer should consider screening beginning at an earlier age. A mammogram, which works the same as an X-ray, can detect changes that are imperceptible to touch or sight.
If breast examination or mammogram leads your physician to suspect breast cancer, she may recommend a biopsy. Biopsy is the only way to diagnose breast cancer. However, a biopsy does not always lead to a cancer diagnosis. A biopsy procedure involves tissue being removed through a thin needle and sent to a laboratory for testing.
Breastlink Breast Health Services
Breastlink offers a comprehensive set of breast cancer screening and risk assessment services. If you are concerned about your risk of breast cancer visit our Risk Assessment Program page to learn more about our unique program. To learn more about breast cancer detection and screening, please contact us.