Breast Defense Against Cancer? Routine Screenings + Self-Exams for Women & Men

CVMC Breast Cancer Specialist discusses the importance of performing regular self exams with a patient.

CVMC Breast Cancer Specialist discusses the importance of performing regular self exams with a patient.

Breast cancer affects both men and women. As with most cancer, early detection is your best defense, therefore self-examinations and regular professional screenings are imperative. The American Cancer Society encourages us to become more familiar with our bodies so that we are more alert of any changes that might occur. In other words, get to know your breasts by preforming  self-exams regularly.

Breast cancer is much less common in men, but it does happen. According to the Susan G. Komen foundation, about one percent of all breast cancer cases in the U.S. occur in men. As such, clinical breast cancer screenings are not typically performed during a man’s routine physical exam, but if you are considered at higher risk because of inherited gene mutations or a strong family history of breast cancer, you should speak with your health care provider about your personal risk of breast cancer and determine what screenings are best for you.

In performing regular self breasts exams, both women and men should become familiar with breast cancer warning signs and perform self-exams in the shower, in front of a mirror or while lying down.

If you notice any of these signs or other changes in your breast or nipple, see your health care provider:

  • Lump, hard knot or thickening inside the breast or underarm areaCVMG-3Dmamm
  • Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening of the breast
  • Change in the size or shape of the breast
  • Dimpling or puckering of the skin
  • Irregularities in or discharge from the nipple

“Conducting regular breast self-exams, although effective, should not replace routine mammograms which are another critical screening tool to detect cancer in its earliest stages,” said Brenda Putnam, CVMC Breast Cancer Specialist. “Catawba Valley Imaging Center, a service of Catawba Valley Medical Center now offers 3D mammography. The introduction of this technology is one of many significant investments by CVMC to more accurately diagnose patients with breast cancer.”

What is 3D mammography?

  • An imaging technique that creates a three-dimensional (3D) like image of breast tissue, to help screen patients for breast cancer. While standard mammogram machines take a static picture from above the breast, the tomosynthesis tube moves over the breast in an arc.
  • Provides a clearer image of the breast tissue which helps diagnose patients with breast cancer more accurately, especially in patients who are identified as having dense breast tissue.

Take charge of your health and learn more about early breast cancer detection. Call Brenda Putnam at (828) 326-2176 or contact her by email at To make an appointment with Catawba Valley Imaging Center, located at 1501 Tate Blvd. SE, Suite 101, Hickory, NC 28602, call at 828-485-2774.

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