Post originally published July, 2021.
As a woman, you know that taking care of yourself is important, but often your health gets lost in the business of every day life. We are here to remind you that regular breast exams are the best way to prevent and detect future problems – like breast cancer.
Other than skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women. Early detection increases survival rates, which is why an annual mammogram is so important. Experts recommend that any woman age 40 or older should get a mammogram each year.
If your personal risk is higher, due to family history or other factors, talk to your healthcare provider about which screening tests are right for you.
Three Steps for Preventative Breast Care
Know your body.
Breast changes are very common, and most are not cancer. Know what is normal for you, and see your healthcare provider right away if you notice any of these changes in your breasts:
- Unexplained breast pain
- Unexplained nipple discharge
- Changes to the skin on your breast such as: an unexplained rash or open sore, a difference in the appearance or shape of your nipple, an orange peel texture
- A change in the overall size or shape of your breast
- Swelling, warmth or redness
Annual clinical breast exams.
While not a substitute for a mammogram, annual clinical breast exams are a tool to help you and your healthcare provider stay aware of potential breast problems.
The best way to catch breast cancer in the early stages – when it’s most treatable – is through routine mammograms. The American Cancer Society recommends annual mammograms for women age 40 and older. For more information on the importance of annual mammograms, click here.
Take control of your breast health. If you are due for a mammogram, talk to your healthcare provider or call 740-687-6666 to schedule your screening today.
It’s Not Just About Breast Cancer
Mammograms aren’t just used for early detection of breast cancer. This diagnostic tool can find a number of other benign breast conditions before those become a larger problem. Conditions include:
- Fibrocystic breast changes (cysts)
- Fat necrosis
- Intraductal papilloma
- Male gynecomastia
Be sure to contact your healthcare provider if you are experiencing any abnormal breast symptoms, such as breast pain, nipple discharge or a noticeable lump.
Reduce Your Risk of Breast Cancer
- Maintain a healthy weight. Make sure you are eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and limit fat, processed and red meat, and sugary drinks.
- Stay physically active. The American Cancer Society recommends that adults get at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate intensity, or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week (or a combination of these), preferably spread throughout the week. Talk to your healthcare provider about developing an exercise plan that works for you.
- Avoid or limit alcohol. Alcohol use – even low levels – have been directly linked to breast cancer risk. If you do choose to drink alcohol, women should have no more than 1 drink per day – 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits (hard liquor).
If you have questions or concerns about your breast health, click here or call our women’s health nurse navigator at 740-687-2727.