October is breast cancer awareness month, and while all women need to be regularly performing breast self-exams, not all women take the time, or know the right procedure to use. Used with other screening methods, self-examinations can increase your odds of early detection, and could potentially even save your life.
At Suncoast Women's Care, Wanda Torres, MD, FACOG, recommends regular self-examinations as part of the breast cancer screening process for her patients in the Trinity, Florida area. To get started with regular breast self-examinations, or to get back into the habit this autumn, follow the guidelines below.
When you give yourself a breast exam, follow these five steps:
For best results, you should conduct self-examinations regularly, at least several times a month. If you have a high degree of risk for breast cancer, keeping an exam journal may be a good idea. Journaling your exams can also help you keep up the habit of routine self-checks. Self-examination is a low-cost, low-stress way for you to stay informed about your breast health.
Breast self-examinations can produce false positives, so don't panic if you feel a lump or other irregularity. Lumps can be naturally occurring and completely benign. Let your doctor know about the issues you've detected, and rely on other tests to identify any underlying problems. Further screenings will show if other treatments are needed, or if the lump you found was benign.
Suncoast Women's Care can provide a checkup exam, mammography, ultrasound, or MRI scan. It's better to know than to be in doubt, so we recommend that you perform self-examinations, but also take the results with a grain of salt. When you come in for an appointment to evaluate a breast lump, we take your health history and conduct a physical exam before ordering any necessary tests.
With early detection, breast cancer has a better chance of successful treatment. The American Cancer Society recommends using multiple methods to screen for breast cancer. If you have any questions about breast self-examination, or are concerned about a lump or irregularity you found during a self-examination, contact Suncoast Women's Care today. Dr. Torres and our care team are here to help. To schedule your appointment, call our office, or use the online booking tool.