Breast Cancer Screening Can Protect Your HealthLast updated: Feb 08, 2012
"Examining your breasts each month, having regular clinical breast exams, and being screened for breast cancer with mammograms or other doctor-recommended tests are among the best things you can do to protect your breast and overall health," says Summit Medical Group Breast Health Nurse Navigator Carol Boyer, RN, MSN, APN, CBPN-IC, AOCNS.
Early Breast Cancer Detection Can Save Your Life!
In addition to providing state-of-the-art diagnostics and the latest in treatments for breast cancer, the Summit Medical Group Breast Care Center staff are focused on increasing awareness about breast cancer, the importance of breast cancer screening, and the value of early detection.
Ms. Boyer says, "Making sure you take time for a monthly self breast exam is one of the most important ways you can help protect your health. She adds, "You also should follow the American Cancer Society (ACS) screening guidelines for your age to be sure you've covered all bases."
ACS Screening Guidelines:
At age 20
Begin self-breast examinations to become familiar with how your breasts look, feel, and change
Between the ages of 20 and 30 years
Have clinical breast examinations every 3 years
At age 40 years and older
Have yearly clinical breast exams and mammograms as long as you are in good health
Based on your doctor's recommendations
Have additional breast screening such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
Each woman's screening needs are unique
and depend on her health and medical history.
Be sure to ask your doctor whether you should have additional tests
or if you should be screened at an earlier age.
Follow these 5 steps to give yourself a thorough self breast exam:
Stand in front of a mirror with your shoulders straight and your arms on your hips. Look at your breasts. Note their size, shape, and color.
Tell your doctor if you have:
- Dimpling, puckering, or bulging skin
- A nipple that is inverted or has changed position
- Redness, a rash, or swelling
Raise your arms and look for the same characteristics.
Tell your doctor if you notice watery, milky, yellowish, or bloody fluid from either or both nipples.
Lie down and feel your breasts:
- Use your right hand to feel your left breast and your left hand to feel your right breast
- Straighten and keeping your first 3 fingers together
Use a firm but smooth touch with
- Light pressure for the skin and tissue just beneath the skin
- Medium pressure for tissue in the middle of the breast
- Firm pressure for deep tissue at the back of the breast down to the ribcage
- Use a circular motion about the size of a quarter to examine your entire breast
- Feel the entire breast from top to bottom and side to side
- Use a pattern like that of mowing a lawn to cover all areas
- Start at your collarbone and work to the top of your abdomen and from your armpit to your cleavage
Stand or sit to feel your breasts and use the same directions in Step 4. Some women prefer to examine their breasts standing or sitting in the shower because having wet hands can make this approach easier.
For more information or to schedule an appointment,
call Summit Medical Group Breast Care Center today