Breast Cancer Screening GuidelinesTuesday, October 5th, 2010, 5:10 pm
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer to affect American women. One in eight women will get it in her lifetime, and nearly 200,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year alone. With such staggering statistics, breast cancer screening is essential and can save lives. These are the major components of breast cancer screening that all women should be familiar with.
1. Home screening - breast exams at home can help women detect potentially cancerous lumps. After age 20, women should complete these monthly. Any changes to the breasts should be reported to a doctor for further examination.
2. Mammography - a Mammogram is an x-ray taken of the breast that can detect the formation of tumors before they become apparent by touch. Women considered high risk should be screened for breast cancer annually from age 30. All women need Mammograms once they're age 40 or older.
3. Clinical breast exam - this is an exam conducted by doctors during regular physicals. They feel the breast and surrounding tissues for any abnormalities. Potential signs of breast cancer that might be detected during this exam include changes in the size and shape of your breasts, changes to the skin (rashes, redness, dimpling), discharge from the nipple, and lumps. Women over 40 need to have a clinical breast exam once each year. Women in their 20's and 30's need it only every three years.
To learn more about the risk factors for breast cancer, read our post on prevention.