Live It Out

Follow These 4 Key Steps to Detect Breast Cancer As Early As Possible

1. Have an Annual Mammogram
The American Cancer Society encourages all women over age 40 to schedule a mammography exam every year. Talk to your personal physician or call Main Street Hospital about scheduling an exam.

2. Perform a Monthly Self-Exam
A monthly breast self-exam (BSE) is another tool you can use to help detect breast cancer. But please remember, a breast self-exam can never be a substitute for an annual mammogram or being examined by your personal physician. The best time to perform a self-exam is when your breasts are not tender or swollen. Talk to your doctor if you notice any of the following changes:

• A lump, bump or thickness in or around the breast or the underarm

• A change in the size or shape of the breast

• Redness, swelling or darkening of the skin

• Any sudden discharge from the nipple

• Any dimpling or puckering of the skin

3. Have An Annual Physical Exam
When your physician conducts a breast exam during your annual physical, he or she can sometimes notice changes in your breast that you thought were normal or happened too slowly to be noticed. The combination of an annual exam by your doctor together with a monthly self-exam is the best way to improve your chances of early detection. Women in their 20s and 30s should have a clinical breast exam (CBE) every three years. Starting at age 40, women should have a CBE every year.

3. Consider an MRI
Women who have a 15 percent or higher lifetime risk of breast cancer should have an MRI performed each year as well as a mammogram. Talk to your doctor to determine your risk.

Source: American Cancer Society