According to the National Cancer Institute, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women. One in eight American women develops the disease. This is why it is so important to examine your breasts monthly for the early signs of breast cancer.
Your doctor can teach you breast self-examination and may recommend a mammogram, or a low-dose x-ray of the breast that can detect a lump before it can be felt. In addition to lumps, other signs to look for include changes in the nipple, puckering in the skin of the breast, bleeding or other discharge from the nipple, or an unusual rash on the breast or nipple.
Mammography is recommended for women in higher-risk groups, including women over the age of fifty, women who have had no children or have had a first child after thirty, and women with a close relative who has had breast cancer. Most breast lumps are benign (be-nine). About 20 percent of breast lumps are malignant, but when cancer is found, early treatment offers the best chance for a cure. A biopsy will be performed to make a diagnosis if a suspicious area is seen on a mammogram. If cancer is detected, it will most likely require surgery. The surgical procedure may be a lumpectomy (lump-eck-toe-mee), the removal of the tumor followed by radiation. A mastectomy, the complete removal of the breast, may also be necessary.
Remember, the best tool in the fight against breast cancer is early detection.
Diet and Breast Disease
Although it has been suggested there might be a connection between diet and breast disease, a definitive link to the disease has not been found.
A 1992 Harvard University study of nearly 90,000 women found no link between dietary fat and breast disease. A 1990 study by the National Cancer Institute of Canada suggested if postmenopausal women got 9 percent of their calories from saturated fat instead of the average of 14 percent, breast cancer rates among these women would fall by 10 percent.
The same study suggested that adding produce rich in vitamin C to the diet would cut cases of breast cancer an additional 14 percent.
Women with fibrocystic (fy-bro-siss-tick) breast disease, a non-cancerous condition causing lumps in the breast, are cautioned to avoid caffeine.
Many breast tumors are found by women during a breast self-exam. Therefore, it is crucial for you to become familiar with your breasts. By examining your breasts every month, you will familiarize yourself with what is normal for you, and you will be able to recognize changes more easily.
Possible signs of breast cancer are lumps you can see or feel, dimpling or puckering of the breast skin, changes in the contour or shape of the breast, thickening of the breast, and any discharge from the nipple. Call your doctor immediately to report any of these signs that you find during your breast self-exam. While most lumps and changes in the breast are not due to cancer, ignoring warning signs removes your best defense: early detection.
The American Medical Association and the American Cancer Society suggest that all women have a baseline mammogram between ages 35 to 39 followed by screening mammograms at one to two-year intervals between ages 40 to 49. The guidelines call for a mammogram once a year after age 50. Women who have a sister or mother with breast cancer are considered high risk. Therefore, it is recommended they have a mammogram every one to two years beginning at age 35. Early detection is vital because the cure rate for breast cancer is high when found at an early stage.
If You Find a Lump…
When performing your monthly breast self-exam, the key word is “change.” If you notice any changes from one month to the next, call your doctor immediately.
Early warnings signs of breast cancer are lumps you can see or feel, dimpling or puckering of the breast skin, changes in the contour or shape of the breast, and any discharge from the nipple. Call your doctor immediately to report any lumps, thickening of the breast, or discharges you find when you are examining your breasts.
The American Cancer Society reports that 1 out of 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime, but early detection can lead to survival. Almost 90 percent of women who get breast cancer can survive if they stay alert, perform a monthly breast self-exam, have their breasts examined regularly by a physician, and have mammograms according to the American Cancer Society guidelines.
While most lumps and changes in the breast are not due to cancer, it is important to remember that your best defense against breast cancer is early detection.
The Mammogram Exam
Mammogram exam at Southwest Contemporary Women’s Care
Mammography is a diagnostic test used to screen for breast cancer. It is very important in the early detection of breast cancer because it can find tumors and irregularities in the breast tissue while they are still too small to be felt by you or your doctor.
Mammography is a low-dose x-ray that takes an image of the inside of your breast. The exam usually takes about 20 minutes. Tumors detected by a mammogram may be benign or cancerous. Further tests and removal of the tumor may be necessary before a definite diagnosis can be made.
Be sure to schedule your mammogram at least seven days after your last period started and two weeks before your next period is expected. This is a time when breasts will be least tender. The test is not painful, but some women experience minor discomfort. On the day of your mammogram, do not use deodorant, perfume, or powder.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists breast cancer screening guidelines recommend mammography screening be offered annually to women beginning at age 40.
Hologic Genius 3D Mammography
Southwest Contemporary Women’s Care is pleased to announce the Genius 3D mammogram is now available to our patients at our Tempe Office.
Not sure what a 3D mammogram is? Watch the video below.