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How to Do a Breast Self Exam|breast physical exam
Breast self-exams are an optional screening tool for women to check themselves for early signs of breast cancer. Performing these exams monthly can help you familiarize yourself with the look and feel of your breasts so that you can more easily detect changes. Though breast self-exams were once thought to be essential to screening for breast cancer, they are now considered a helpful, optional tool.
Learn why to do them. Some women like to perform regular breast self-exams. Regular examinations allow you to detect changes that you may not have otherwise noticed, which can help you detect any cancer; however, self-exam should never take the place of mammograms, since these are considered a more accurate test.
When you do an exam, you are looking for pre-cancerous lesions or early signs of cancer before it has spread. At this stage, you can treat it before it grows to be life-threatening, which lowers your risk of death from breast cancer. In addition to self-exams, professional screening involved a mammogram, which is a kind of x-ray specifically used on breasts that can show masses, calcifications, or other signs of cancer.
No study has proven that breast self-exams decrease the risk of breast cancer death, which is why many experts do not recommend them. Because of this, many women choose not to do them, but they can still be helpful
Know if you are at risk. There are groups of individuals who are more at risk for breast cancer. There are genetic reason and events in your medical history that can put you more at risk. These include:
A mutation in a breast cancer gene called BRCA
Previous history of breast cancer
A family history of breast cancer, especially at a younger age
Women who had radiation of the chest between 10 and 30 years of age
Start at the right time. Breast self-exams should begin as early as age 20. You should check your breasts once a month so you can note changes over time. In addition to breast self-exams, yearly mammogram screenings should begin no later than age 45, though you can start as early as age 40.
You can continue yearly mammograms starting at 55, or you can go down to once every two years.
If you are a higher risk of breast cancer, you may begin screening at age 40. Your doctor may order you to get tested more frequently if you are more at risk of developing breast cancer.
Have a clinical breast exam (CBE). In addition to your monthly self-exams, your doctor should perform a breast exam at least once a year during your annual physical or gynecological check-up. Your doctor will first perform a visual
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