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When Should I Get My Breasts Checked?

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Let’s talk boobies! More specifically, let’s talk about getting those beautiful boobies examed.

Breast exams are the first line of defense against breast cancer and a major key to your wellness as a woman.

What Are Breast Exams?

There are several forms of breast exams:

  • Self-examination
  • Clinical examination
  • Mammogram
  • Ultrasound
  • MRI

Women and medical professionals use a combination of these exams for early detection of breast cancer.

Breast cancer can affect any woman and even some men. The American Cancer Society estimates about 2,710 men in  the U.S will be diagnosed annually. Family history may increase risk, but 70% of women with breast cancer have no known family history of the disease.

We’re not dropping stats just to scare you, our goal is to spread awareness. It’s crucial that all women learn about breast exams and know when to get them.

Self- Examination

Self love is the best love, and self breast examinations are one of the most important self-care activities. Approximately 40% of women diagnosed with breast cancer first detected an issue during self-exams.

The best thing about learning how to perform a self breast exam is that it’s 100% free and non-invasive. Plus, it helps you get to know your boobies better.

“The best time to do a monthly self-breast exam is about 3 to 5 days after your period starts. Do it at the same time every month. Your breasts are not as tender or lumpy at this time in your monthly cycle. If you have gone through menopause, do your exam on the same day every month”

-medlineplus.gov

Clinical Breast Exam

Clinical breast exams (CBE) follow the same process as self-exams, but they’re performed by a medical professional. You’ll likely receive a CBE when you go to the gynecologist.

Don’t forget to book your regular exams!

Medical professionals are trained to check breast tissue and the surrounding areas. By staying up to date with your check-ups, you should receive a clinical breast exam once a year.

Mammogram

Mammograms are diagnostic imaging tests and X-rays used to screen for breast cancer starting at the age of fifty. During a mammogram, breast tissues are compressed and photographed for inspection by a doctor.

Mammograms detect lumps and abnormalities in the breast tissue.

Ultrasound

Ultrasounds are used to detect lumps present in the breasts. They’re early diagnostic tools used to see if lumps are benign or malignant.

Ultrasounds are necessary when experiencing breast tissue changes or when a lump has been detected in the breast.

MRI

MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging. An MRI uses magnetic fields and radio waves to create enhanced images of breast tissues. Doctors will recommend an MRI if necessary on a patient by patient basis.

When Is The Right Time For A Breast Exam?

Breast exam frequency depends on age, risk, and exam type. Monthly self-exams are recommended for women of all ages.

Ages 20 to 39
Clinical breast exams recommended every 1-3 years

Ages 40 – 49
Women who place a higher value on the potential benefit than the potential harms may choose to begin screening with mammography once every two years

Ages 50 to 75
Mammogram and clinical breast exam yearly or every two years.

Ages 75 and Up
By doctor recommendation

What if I’m High Risk?

Women with increased risk of breast cancer are recommended to receive more frequent testing. Risk factors include genetic mutations, family history, chest exposure to radiation, and past diagnoses of breast cancer.

If you’re high risk, talk to your doctor to determine your screening frequency.

Are Regular Breast Exams Important?

Breast cancer is one of the most common diseases faced by women, and risk only increases as we age.

“It’s estimated that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime and 1 in 39 women will die from breast cancer. It’s the most diagnosed cancer among women in the U.S., and it’s now the most common cancer globally.That’s why regular breast cancer screening is so important.”

Dr. Christine Klassen – Mayo Clinic

Conclusion

Breast exams are important because early detection means more treatment options and a better quality life.

Breast cancer awareness means making breast exams a normal part of our lives as women. Start by getting familiar with self breast exams and performing them regularly. Spread the word by sharing this article with friends and making this a regular topic of conversation with the girls.

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