The average woman doesn't have to undergo regular mammograms until age 35 to 45, but everyone should perform periodic self-exams upon finishing puberty. Inspecting your breasts closely for abnormal lumps is the first line of defense against breast cancer. Here are some of the biggest reasons to add monthly exams to your calendar.
Why Breast Self-Exams Are Important
1. Get to Know Your Body
When it comes to breast tissue, what’s normal for one woman may not necessarily be normal for another. By conducting regular self-exams, you’ll quickly become familiar with your own breasts and what they should look and feel like.
When you first start examining yourself, do so several times a month because your breasts will change over the course of your cycle. Right before menstruation, for example, they’ll likely feel tender and swollen.
2. Provide Peace of Mind
Knowing what your breasts should feel like at various times of the month will reduce a considerable amount of stress. If you’re prone to fibrocystic breast changes, for example, you’ll know not to worry about any lumps that appear just before menstruation and disappear right after.
If, on the other hand, you do develop strange growths, you won’t have to wonder how long they've gone unnoticed. Instead, you can undergo a mammogram right away.
3. Identify Minor Issues
The primary purpose of breast self-exams is to identify any minor issues before they develop into major concerns. Much like other kinds of cancer, breast cancer has the best prognosis when detected early. When performing the exam, signs to beware of include nipple discharge, unusual lumps, dimpling, redness, itching, puckering, and excessive pain or tenderness.
If you notice any troublesome tissue during a self-exam, turn to the compassionate OB-GYN providers at the Women’s Clinic of Lincoln, P.C. Serving patients throughout Lancaster County, NE, this practice operates a state-of-the-art facility where they perform all kinds of screenings and diagnostic tests on-site, from Pap smears to mammograms. To explore all the services they provide, visit their website. To schedule a mammogram or discuss your concerns with a member of their team, call (402) 434-3370.