Breast Health and Breast Self-Exam

Breast ExamWomen should know how their breasts normally look and feel. Doing regular breast self-exams is the best way to know this. They also help you to notice any changes in your breasts. This is also true for women who have breast implants. A change can be a sign of a problem. If you find a change, see your doctor right away.

Most breast changes or lumps are not cancer. But only a doctor can tell for sure. When breast cancer is found early, you have more treatment choices and a better chance of recovery. So, it is best to find breast cancer as early as possible.

Breast self-exams should not take the place of regular screening mammograms or clinical breast exams, which are done by a doctor. Screening mammograms and clinical breast exams can help doctors find breast cancer early. Treatment is more likely to work well when cancer is found early.

Women ages 20 to 39 should have a clinical breast exam at least once every three years. Once a woman turns 40, she should have a clinical breast exam each year and screening mammogram every one to two years. Ask your doctor how often you need one. Breast self-exams are an option for women starting in their 20’s. Ask your doctor about the benefits and limitations of breast self-exams.

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