Approximately 200,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year in the United States. One in nine women in the United States will develop breast cancer during her lifetime. Early detection is a critical part of fighting cancer. In addition to breast cancer, there are many conditions and health needs that are associated with breast health.
To ensure that you receive the proper care for your needs, our physicians work closely with the Breast Care Centers on each of our IASIS hospital campuses to offer a comprehensive range of services to meet your breast health needs.
Breast Cancer Risk Factors
Several factors can increase your risk for developing breast cancer. These include family and personal health history, age and race. One of the most important aspects of fighting breast cancer is early detection.
The following are five simple steps that you should follow to increase your likelihood for early detection:
1. Perform a monthly breast self-exam.
2. Schedule a yearly clinical breast exam performed by your women’s health provider.
3. See a doctor if you notice any unusual changes in your breasts.
4. Learn about your personal and family health history and ways to reduce your risks.
5. Schedule yearly mammograms beginning at age 40. Recommendations for frequency of mammograms vary depending on your health and personal family history.
Breast Self-exam Tips
By completing regular monthly breast self-exams, you will be able to know the normal appearance and feeling of your breasts, which will allow you to distinguish when something out of the ordinary arises. You should consider the way your breasts feel, as well as their physical appearance.
• Look at yourself in the mirror with hands at your sides and with hands raised. Watch for any unusual shapes/textures on or around your breasts as you do this.
• Move your three middle fingers in small circular motions up and down your breasts (one at a time), feeling for lumps or thickening.
• Make note of any bloody or other discharge coming from the nipples.
Considering asking your mom, sister, or friend to be your “bosom buddy”. Mark your calendar and each month, at the same time of the month, reach out to your buddy to remind her to perform a breast self-exam.
Signs of Tumors in the Breast
While breast cancer does not usually produce significant symptoms early on, a tumor growing in the breast can cause notable changes in the breast. For example, tumors can change the physical appearance of the breast, or even how the breast feels.
The following are possible signs of a tumor growing in the breast area:
• A new lump in your breast or underarm area
• Irritation or dimpling of breast skin
• Thickening or swelling of part of the breast
• Pain in any area of the breast
• Any changes in the size or shape of your breast
• Nipple discharge (other than breast milk)
• Redness, rash or flaky skin on the nipple area or breast
It is very important that if you discover anything unusual in or around your breasts that you contact your healthcare provider to analyze your findings to learn whether a tumor is benign or malignant. If you notice any unusual changes in your breasts, contact us for an evaluation.