For More Information
- HER2 Support Group
- Breast Cancer Treatment
- Guide For Women
- Metastatic Breast Cancer
- Sources of Support
- Nutrition & Physical Activity
- NCI Publications
- Follow-Up Care
- Complimentary & Alternative Medicine
- Breast Reconstruction
- Risk Factors
- Cancer & Cancer Pathways
- MD Anderson Cancer Handbook
- Your Guide to Cancer Care
- How To Handle The Fear of Breast Cancer
Screening for breast cancer before there are symptoms can be important. Screening can help doctors find and treat cancer early. Treatment is more likely to work well when cancer is found early.
You should ask your doctor about when to start and how often to check for breast cancer.
To find breast cancer early, NCI recommends that:
Mammograms can often show a breast lump before it can be felt. They also can show a cluster of tiny specks of calcium. These specks are called microcalcifications. Lumps or specks can be from cancer, precancerous cells, or other conditions. Further tests are needed to find out if abnormal cells are present.
Mammograms are the best tool doctors have to find breast cancer early. However, mammograms are not perfect:
Mammograms (as well as dental x-rays, and other routine x-rays) use very small doses of radiation. The risk of any harm is very slight, but repeated x-rays could cause problems. The benefits nearly always outweigh the risk. You should talk with your health care provider about the need for each x-ray. You should also ask for shields to protect parts of your body that are not in the picture.
During a clinical breast exam, your health care provider checks your breasts. You may be asked to raise your arms over your head, let them hang by your sides, or press your hands against your hips.
You may perform monthly breast self-exams to check for any changes in your breasts. It is important to remember that changes can occur because of aging, your menstrual cycle, pregnancy, menopause, or taking birth control pills or other hormones. It is normal for breasts to feel a little lumpy and uneven. Also, it is common for your breasts to be swollen and tender right before or during your menstrual period.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 21 January 2010 08:39|