Breast Cancer Screenings
Why Breast Cancer Screenings Can Save Your Life
Did you know that 1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer over their lifetime? While breast cancer is the most common form of cancer affecting American women today, it is also one of the most preventable due to the latest technological advancements.
There are currently 2.8 million breast cancer survivors in the US. Decreases in breast cancer cases, according to U.S. Cancer Statistics, are credited to ever-improving diagnostics and early, regular screenings. We aim to improve these statistics by continuing to educate our patients on the most beneficial ongoing breast cancer prevention routines available.
What Breast Cancer Screenings are Available Today?
We encourage all of our patients, no matter what age, to determine if breast cancer runs in their family. Understanding breast cancer patterns in families helps us determine which testing will be most appropriate for each of our patients throughout their lifetime. Some breast cancer cases are genetically related and some are not; family history provides important clues for us to discern how it may affect you personally.
There are three main distinctions between common breast cancer screenings. They include a clinical exam, self-breast exam, and mammogram. We suggest all three be performed regularly to avoid error. If any return with clinically remarkable results, more in-depth breast cancer studies will be performed given your personal circumstances.
Self breast exam
To be clear, a self breast exam does not replace a clinical exam or mammogram, but rather acquaints a woman with her normal breast tissue to gauge for any sudden changes. While certain changes in breast tissue may simply be due to other metabolic and hormonal fluctuations, we encourage our patients to contact us to inquire about overt differences that may be noticed. We suggest that every woman feel their own breasts at least once per month just after their period ends to avoid tender and swollen breast tissue. If you are no longer menstruating, choose a consistent day each month to evaluate.
Clinical breast exam
A clinical breast exam is performed in our office by one of our doctors or nurses. Much like the home breast exam, we use this to gauge changes in breast tissue. Our team is trained to discern between lumps or other changes that may be present. While this exam does not replace a mammogram, it often provides sufficient testing for healthy women under 40.
A mammogram is an x-ray of the breast to detect any changes to breast tissue that may not be discernible upon palpation. If you are between the ages of 40-50, we suggest you speak to us about when to schedule your first diagnostic exam. For women between 50-74 years old, we suggest a mammogram every two years. Again, if you are aware of familial breast cancer, please make us aware of this regardless of your age so we may suggest the most appropriate testing for you.
We understand it can be frightening if you find a lump, but please do not be alarmed. Rather, contact us for an appointment so we may help determine if further treatment is necessary.