Breast Cancer Screenings: What You Need to Know
Did you know that a simple breast cancer screening could save your life? When people hear the word 'screening' they usually think of doctor's visits and diagnostic tests. However, a breast screening could be incredibly simple and take place within the walls of your home.
In an effort to keep you healthy, here are a few different ways to get yourself screened for breast cancer, along with how often they need to be done.
Personal Breast Cancer Screening
As you have probably noticed, the consistency of your breasts changes often. Your breast tissue may sometimes seem lumpy or fibrous, while other times it may seem almost swollen. During your menstrual period, your breasts will likely be tender and painful. Consequently, you should conduct a self-breast exam about 10 days after the first day of your period. You should check for any new or abnormal lumps, bruises, or marks about once a month. In order to better understand the geography of your breasts, you may even want to draw a diagram of how your breast feels. This will help you to keep track of changes over time.
Physical Exam by Practitioner
During your yearly physical you should have your breasts examined by your medical doctor. They are trained to recognize and discern between regular breast lumps and lumps that may need further testing. If you find something noticeable in your self-breast screenings, you should schedule a screening with your doctor. They will either put your mind at ease or help you to get the further diagnostic tests that you require.
Once women hit the age of 45 years of age, they should begin to have a yearly mammogram. There are many medical facilities that offer mammograms for free during breast cancer awareness month (October), though most insurances will cover the complete cost of a mammogram, no matter when you get one. Women who are over the age of 55 and have never had an abnormal mammogram may only need to get one every 2 years, though it will be determined by their doctor. To schedule your mammogram, talk to your doctor about getting an appointment.
In conclusion, you should be doing your own personal screenings once a month, your screenings with a practitioner every year, and a mammogram every year. While breast cancer screenings may be a little awkward at first, they could save your life. For more information on how to do your personal breast screening, ask your gynecologist.