Finding Breast Cancer Early

April 7, 2023

Breast cancer is curable if detected early, so women need to follow a few simple steps to find this disease before it can grow and spread and treatment becomes more difficult.

How do I do a breast self-exam?

  • Examine each breast after the menstrual period or on any regular day of the month after menopause. You should be aware of your breasts’ appearance so that you can notice differences.
  • First inspect each breast while standing in front of the mirror. Place hands on hips to make muscles tense. Lean forward. Check for dimpling (skin resembling an orange peel), lumps, spots, and painful areas. Some women find that soapy water makes small differences more visible.
  • Lie face up and feel each breast with the opposite hand. Gently squeeze each nipple, looking for discharge or blood. Move the tips of three fingers around the breast in a circular motion, feeling for lumps, sensitive spots, or unusual warmth. Examine the entire breast, including the underarm area.
  • Report any unusual finding to your physician.

How often should I get a clinical breast exam?

Many family doctors and gynecologists perform manual examinations every 1 to 2 years in patients getting routine check-ups or pap smears.

What happens during a mammogram?

Many physicians recommend mammograms for patients aged 40 and over every 1 or 2 years until at least the age of 75. Mammograms are performed at imaging centers, the same places where x-rays are performed, because the two types of tests are similar. The breast is placed between two pieces of plastic, where it is slightly squeezed, and a picture of the inner part of the breast is formed in a few seconds. There may be some discomfort, fortunately short-lived. Patients can help minimize discomfort by not drinking caffeine that morning. Women are also asked not to use deodorants or skin creams that could blur the image.

If cancer is detected early in one place, it can be removed by a procedure known as a lumpectomy.

The bottom line

Prevention is key, so be sure to perform self-exams and visit your doctor regularly for check-ups. Do it for you and your loved ones.

Articles on this website are meant for educational purposes only and are not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Do not delay care because of the content on this site. If you think you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call your doctor immediately or call 911 (if within the United States).

This blog and its content are the intellectual property of QuickMD LLC and may not be copied or used without permission.