It’s important to know the ins and outs of your body, especially if you notice something doesn’t look or feel normal. This includes getting to know your breasts, and recognizing changes that may signal something is wrong.
It all begins with breast self-awareness. Since breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the U.S and it can be successfully treated if caught early, it is important for you to:
Yearly mammograms are the most popular screening tests for women, but some physicians recommend women conduct a breast self-exam (BSE) at least once a month.
A BSE is a step-by-step approach a woman can use to look at and feel her breasts to check for anything abnormal. This type of self-exam can help you become familiar with how your breasts look and feel so you can alert a healthcare professional of any changes.
Breast self-exams can be performed:
If you are conducting a self-exam, you should look for any lump, thickening or hardened knot. You should also look for any changes in breast contour, swelling, dimpling of the skin or changes in the nipples.
According to the American Cancer Society, research has not shown a clear benefit of physical breast exams, either done by a professional or done by yourself, since there is very little evidence these exams help find breast cancer early when women also get screening mammograms. Because of the BSE debate, many organizations are choosing to say a BSE is an optional screening tool for women.
Even though a self-exam is not recommended as a screening tool, it is important to pay attention to how your breasts look and feel so you know what’s normal for you. If you notice one of the following warning signs, contact your physician:
How do you remind yourself to schedule a mammogram? Tell us in the below comments.
Join us for a Breast Reconstruction Awareness (BRA) Day event on Oct. 19. Hear from physician speakers, receive make-up tricks, pampering and relaxation techniques and more. Register now.
One in eight American women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Mammograms are still the key to early detection. That’s why Edward-Elmhurst Health offers no-referral screening mammograms that you can schedule online.
Learn more about breast health at Edward-Elmhurst Health.
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