Did you know breast cancer (BC) is the most common cancer affecting women worldwide? While the thought of breast cancer can be scary, early detection is key to improving outcomes and increasing survival rates. Breast cancer is often found after symptoms appear, but many women with Breast Cancer have no symptoms.
Hence women need to be vigilant of how they can detect breast cancer, even if they don’t have any symptoms. This post will explore the various screening methods available to women, including mammograms and other imaging tests. So, let’s take a closer look and learn more about how we can detect breast cancer early and potentially save lives!
Breast self-examination is the simplest way to detect BC earlier. It should be done at least once a month, preferably a few days after menstruation. Breast self-exams involve examining your breasts for any hardening or lump, changes in appearance or texture, or other abnormalities such as skin puckering or dimpling, discharge from the nipple, or changes in the size, shape, or color of the breast. While there is some debate about the effectiveness of breast self-exams, some healthcare providers still recommend them as part of early breast cancer detection. It is an option for women starting in their 20s. Women must be aware of their breasts’ normal appearance and texture to successfully report any changes to their healthcare professionals. Not sure how to do a self-breast exam correctly? Would you like to refresh your skills? You are in luck, follow this self-breast exam video, narrated by Dr. Schwartz, to ensure the best chance of detecting the slightest abnormality in your breasts. Review these most common Breast Cancer Signs and Symptoms as recommended by the American Cancer Society. Add a link to this article below once posted.
2. Clinical Breast Exam
Clinical breast exams are physical exams performed by a healthcare provider to check for abnormalities in the breast tissue. According to the American Cancer Society, clinical breast exams for women should be performed yearly for those over 40 and every three years for those in their 20s and 30s.
While clinical breast exams are less effective than mammograms for detecting breast cancer, they can still be an important part of early detection.
Mammography is the GOLD standard for diagnosing breast cancer. In this technique, X-rays are used to capture images of the breast tissue, which can help detect any abnormalities or changes that could indicate breast cancer. The American Cancer Society says that females at an average risk of developing breast cancer are advised to begin mammograms at age 40 and to continue getting them every year after that. High-risk breast cancer patients may need to begin mammography earlier and have it more frequently.
4. Breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (BMRI)
Breast magnetic resonance imaging is a diagnostic imaging method that uses strong radio waves to create precise pictures of breast tissue. It is a non-invasive procedure that can provide a more detailed look at the breast tissue than other imaging tests such as mammography or ultrasound.
The patient is positioned on a table that slides into a tunnel-shaped machine, creating a strong magnetic field around the breast area. Radio waves are then directed toward the breast tissue.
Breast MRI is frequently utilized as a supplemental imaging tool for women with a strong family history of breast and ovarian cancer who have undergone treatment for Hodgkin’s disease or have already been diagnosed with breast cancer. It can also be used to gauge the size of the malignancy and inform treatment plans. It can assist in finding tiny cancers that might not be evident on mammography or ultrasound.
5. Genetic Testing
Women with strong family history of breast cancer are often recommended to undergo genetic testing. This testing tells the risk of developing breast cancer and may inform screening and prevention strategies.
Early detection is the key to improving outcomes and increasing survival rates for breast cancer. Women should be aware of the various guidelines for early breast cancer detection and discuss their risk and screening options with their healthcare providers. Following these guidelines, women can take proactive steps to detect breast cancer early and potentially save their lives.
Do you have any questions, or have you detected anything of concern? Schedule an appointment with breast specialist, Dr. Schwartz.
Dr. Schwartz is an oncoplastic breast surgeon, who can, together with his team, take care of any and all of your breast needs – from detection to biopsy to any mass removal and immediate reconstruction to breast lift and reduction. As a cancer survivor himself, Dr. Schwartz understands the stresses and worries his patients face and he truly sympathizes with them. So don’t delay, any change in your breasts deserves a thorough check-up. Schedule your appointment today, you could be seen as early as today! 470-322-6757