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Lifelong Breast Health Starts Here

African American woman talking on phoneAs 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.

Regular mammograms increase the chance of catching breast cancer sooner, improve overall breast cancer survival rates, and give your healthcare provider a baseline to monitor for issues. Experts recommend that any woman age 40 or older should be receiving an annual mammogram.

Though it is rare, men can also develop breast cancer. If you are a male and have noticed changes in your breasts, speak to your healthcare provider.

Nurse Assisting Patient Undergoing Mammogram

Early Detection Saves Lives

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 be receiving 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.

Woman in tank top examining her breast
Understanding Breast Pain

Breast pain or mastalgia is any pain or discomfort in your breast or underarm region, and it may occur for a number of reasons. Generally, breast pain is not a sign of breast cancer.

Doctor consulting her patient
Understanding Breast Density

Breast density is a measure of the make up of the tissue in your breast. The makeup of breast tissue may change over time, with some women’s breasts becoming less dense over time.

Female physician listens to senior patient's heart

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
  • Mastitis
  • Fibroadenomas
  • Calcifications
  • Hyperplasia
  • Adenosis
  • Intraductal papilloma
  • Lipoma
  • 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 palpable lump.

Knowledge Is Power

It is important for you to know your breasts. Don’t be afraid to ask your healthcare provider questions about your mammogram results. The more information you have, the more likely you are to be aware if abnormal changes in your breasts occur.

  • Women with dense breasts are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer. Dense breasts can also make it more difficult to find breast cancer on a mammogram. If you do have dense breasts, you can decide with your doctor which, if any, additional tests are necessary. 

  • In addition to mammograms, ultrasounds and MRIs are currently being studied as a screening tool for women with dense breasts. Ask your healthcare provider which test is right for you.

  • It is important to your breast health to discuss both sides of your family history with your healthcare provider. Be sure to share any risk factors – including family history of breast cancer, previous radiation exposure and personal medical history. If you have other factors that put you at high risk of breast cancer, your doctor may order an annual breast ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). 

Doctor consulting her patient
A young doctor shares her tablet with the patient. The patient smiles as she looks at the doctor.

Is This Normal?

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

We Can Help!

To learn more, contact our Women’s Health Nurse Navigator at 740-687-2727 to learn more about breast health and other women’s health concerns.