Early Detection Is Your Best Defense
The earlier breast cancer is found, the better your odds that your treatment will be successful. The American College of Radiology, Society of Breast Imaging, American Society of Breast Surgeons, and others, recommend the following guidelines for finding breast cancer early in women without symptoms:
Breast self-exam (BSE): BSE is an option for women starting in their 20’s. Women should be told about the benefits and limitations of BSE. Women should report any changes in how their breasts look or feel to their health professional right away.
Clinical breast exam: Women in their 20s and 30s should have a clinical breast exam (CBE) as part of a regular exam by a health care provider, preferably every 3 years. After age 40, women should have a breast exam by a health expert every year. It might be a good idea to have the CBE shortly before the mammogram. You can use the exam to learn what your own breasts feel like.
Baseline Mammogram: should be obtained between the ages of 35 and 40.
Mammogram: Women age 40 and older should have a mammogram every year and should continue to do so for as long as they are in good health.Â
The most important thing is to see your doctor right away if you notice any of these changes:
- a lump or swelling
- skin irritation or dimpling
- nipple pain or the nipple turning inward
- redness or scaliness of the nipple or breast skin
- or a discharge other than breast milk.
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Keep family members and friends informed of your health status by using The Caring Bridge.