Detecting breast cancer early can increase your chance of finding the disease before it spreads and making treatment more successful. One of the most important steps to this process is breast self-exams. Adult women should perform breast self- exams at least once a month. Breastcancer.org believes that performing breast self-exams in combination with other screening methods can increase the odds of early detection.
Before you begin a self-exam, you may find it helpful to discuss the instructions and technique with your physician. BreastCancer.org has a helpful guide, How to do a Breast self-exam: The 5 steps: https://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/testing/types/self_exam
To familiarize yourself with how your breasts normally look and feel, examine your breasts frequently so that if there are any changes you will recognize them. Examine your breast each month, several days after you period when they are not tender or swollen. If you do not have a period, pick a day of the month that is convenient for you. If you feel a lump or lumps in your breast don’t hesitate to call your physician to discuss your findings. Most breast lumps are benign (not cancer). There are several reasons why you could have a breast lump that is non -cancerous including, hormonal changes, fibrocystic breasts (breasts will feel lumpy or rope-like to your touch), lipoma, injury or overgrowth of your ducts.
What to do if you find a lump
First thing to know is Don’t panic! Most women have some lumps or lumpy areas in their breast all the time. Most of the lumps in women’s breast turn out to be benign (not cancer).
Second thing to know is to call you doctor if your do notice a change that is new or worrisome. Changes to a breast that last more than one menstrual cycle or a lump that has grown in size should always be examined by your physician.
For more information about Breast Self-Exam, contact Dr. Neera Bhatia, your San Antonio OB/GYN today at (210) 222-2694!
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