As a woman, there are many health issues that you may be far more prone to than men. Among these is the risk of developing breast cancer at some point in your lifetime. However, what you may not know is what you can and should do to prevent breast cancer, or at the very least detect breast cancer early. In order to ensure that you are doing everything that you can to keep yourself healthy, get to know more about breast cancer prevention and screenings. Once you know what you need to do, you can schedule your appointments and make your health a priority.
Perform Breast Self-Exams
Generally speaking, clinical breast exams are performed by your ob/gyn when you go in for your annual pelvic exam and pap smear. Some doctors do still perform breast exams anyway, but not all.
Even if your ob/gyn is one of the doctors that does perform clinical breast exams regularly, you should be sure that you are performing regular breast self-exams. Ideally, you should do a breast self-exam once a month and just gently palpitate your breast tissue (all the way up into the lymph nodes in your armpits) and just look for any lumps, changes, or other abnormalities.
In women who are younger than 40 to 45, breast self-exams are the best way to detect tumors that could be cancerous early. The earlier breast cancer is detected, the less likely it is to spread to other areas of the body and the more treatment options you will have available to you.
Get Mammograms Every Year
Once you reach the age of 45, the American Cancer Society recommends that you get a mammogram every year. Until recently, doctors recommended that women begin getting annual mammograms at age 40, but this age has been adjusted based on statistical findings. Of course, you can still get mammograms starting at an earlier age, and if you have a family history of breast cancer or you know that you carry the breast cancer gene, you should definitely begin getting these screening exams sooner rather than later.
A mammogram is a diagnostic test in which your breast tissue is placed onto a flat device and then the tissue is squeezed so that it lays as flat as possible. The x-ray technician then takes a series of scans of the breast tissue to look for any abnormal cells or other such issues. If your breast tissue does show signs of abnormalities or the tissue is too dense, you may also receive a breast ultrasound to get a better look at the breast tissue.
Now that you know a few of the ways that you can better prevent breast cancer, you can schedule your appointment with your ob/gyn or begin your routine of regular breast self-exams. Remember that you should consult your doctor at any sign of trouble so that you get the early treatment you need if you do develop breast cancer. Contact a company like Women's Care Inc for more information.