The American Cancer Society estimates 40% of diagnosed breast cancers are initially detected by women who feel a lump during breast self-exams. When breast cancer is detected early, in the localized stage, the long-term survival rate is significantly improved.
Creating an Early Detection Plan enables you to be proactive about your health by reminding you to do breast self-exams and schedule clinical breast exams and mammograms. Go to http://www.earlydetectionplan.org and create personal reminders to do breast self-exams and schedule your clinical breast exams and mammograms based on your age and health history. The American Cancer Society emphasizes the importance of looking for early warning signs of breast cancer. With regular self exams, you will be able to more easily identify any changes in your breast.
While mammograms can help detect cancer before you can feel a lump, breast self-exams help you to be familiar with how your breasts look and feel so you can alert your healthcare professional if there are any changes. Women should perform self breast-exams periodically and discuss any changes or abnormalities with their medical provider.
The American Cancer Society offers the following tips to be aware of when performing a self examination:
Look for Any Change In How The Breast Or Nipple Feels
- Nipple tenderness or a lump or thickening in or near the breast or underarm area
- A change in the skin texture or an enlargement of pores in the skin of the breast (some describe this as similar to an orange peel’s texture)
- A lump in the breast (It’s important to remember that all lumps should be investigated by a healthcare professional, but not all lumps are cancerous)
Notice a Change In The Breast or Nipple Appearance
- Any unexplained change in the size or shape of the breast
- Dimpling anywhere on the breast
- Unexplained swelling of the breast (especially if on one side only)
- Unexplained shrinkage of the breast (especially if on one side only)
- Recent asymmetry of the breasts (Although it is common for women to have one breast that is slightly larger than the other, if the onset of asymmetry is recent, it should be checked.)
- Nipple that is turned slightly inward or inverted
- Skin of the breast, areola, or nipple that becomes scaly, red, or swollen or may have ridges or pitting resembling the skin of an orange
- Any nipple discharge—particularly clear discharge or bloody discharge
Catawba Valley Imaging Center, recognized as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology (ACR), is the outpatient radiology center offered as one of the many services of CVMC. This status recognizes CVMC’s achievements in mammography, stereotactic breast biopsy, breast ultrasound and ultrasound-guided breast biopsy. CVIC now offers a revolutionary new screening and diagnostic tool designed for early breast cancer detection called 3-D mammography. 3-D mammograms have been shown in clinical studies to be superior to digital mammography. To schedule a mammogram at Catawba Valley Imaging Center, located at 1501 Tate Blvd. SE, Suite 101, Hickory, NC 28602, please call 828.485.2766.
Follow Catawba Valley Medical Center’s Comprehensive Cancer Center on Facebook to read inspiring stories about local survivors and learn about cancer support groups, new treatments and our array of services to help detect and prevent cancer.
Source: American Cancer Society