If You Feel A Lump Does It Mean You Have Breast Cancer
Only 20% of the breast lumps are cancerous. Also, no doctor bases a cancer diagnosis on a simple self-examination. There are other sophisticated diagnostic tools such as mammography and biopsy that determine whether or not you have breast cancer.
I hope this blog helped you understand the importance of breast self-examination at home. Plus, you now know the necessary steps for how to do your breast self-check every month.
If you found this breast self-exam guide useful, please share it with your friends and family. Also, dont forget to download the instructional breast cancer self-exam PDF for free!
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Found a new lump in your breast and not sure who to call? BASS Medical Group can help. Their elite team is made up of doctors who are experts in their respective fields. BASS Medical Group has many convenient locations in the greater San Francisco area. Call 350-4044 to learn more or schedule an appointment.
Local Nurse Stresses Importance Of Self Exams After Being Diagnosed With Breast Cancer
Local nurse diagnosed with breast cancer in her mid-30s
According to the American Cancer Society, a very small number of women under the age of 45 with get the diagnosis.
AUSTIN, Texas – October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. According to the American Cancer Society, one out of eight women in the U.S. will develop breast cancer during her lifetime.
Most cases involve middle-age and older women with the median age being 62. But, a very small number of women under the age of 45 will get the diagnosis.
A local nurse became a part of that group when she found out she had breast cancer in her mid-30s.
“I am the poster child of early detection, early treatment,” said Emma Perry. “And, because I got diagnosed at Stage-1A, the chances of it coming back are much less.”
Perry is the palliative care coordinator at St. Davids North Austin Medical Center. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 at the age of 35 after discovering a lump in one of her breasts during a self-check.
“I went to my doctor, she thankfully ordered a mammogram,” Perry explained. “When I had my mammogram, they found some interesting changes, some indications that I could have early breast cancer.”
A biopsy showed Perry had stage-0 cancer in one of her breasts. Genetic testing, done because of her young age, revealed she has the BRCA-2 gene, putting her at a higher risk for certain cancers.
During her entire cancer fight, she continued to work as a nurse caring for others.
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How To Make Breast Self
Make it routine. The more you examine your breasts, the more you will learn about them and the easier it will become for you to tell if something has changed. Try to get in the habit of doing a breast self-examination once a month to familiarize yourself with how your breasts normally look and feel. Examine yourself several days after your period ends, when your breasts are least likely to be swollen and tender. If you are no longer having periods, choose a day that’s easy to remember, such as the first or last day of the month.
Get to know your breasts’ different neighborhoods. The upper, outer area near your armpit tends to have the most prominent lumps and bumps. The lower half of your breast can feel like a sandy or pebbly beach. The area under the nipple can feel like a collection of large grains. Another part might feel like a lumpy bowl of oatmeal.
Start a journal where you record the findings of your breast self-exams. This can be like a small map of your breasts, with notes about where you feel lumps or irregularities. Especially in the beginning, this may help you remember, from month to month, what is normal for your breasts. It is not unusual for lumps to appear at certain times of the month, but then disappear, as your body changes with the menstrual cycle .
What Does A Breast Lump Feel Like
If there is a lump on your breast, it will usually feel harder than other parts of your breast. However, some people with dense or cystic breasts may experience lumps. Breast consistency can also fluctuate around menstrual cycles.
It is best to speak with a doctor to rule out breast cancer if you find a lump on your breast or if you have dense breasts.
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What Is Breast Cancer Screening
CDCs Dr. Lisa Richardson talks about the best time for women to start getting mammograms in this video.
Breast cancer screeningexternal icon means checking a womans breasts for cancer before there are signs or symptoms of the disease. All women need to be informed by their health care provider about the best screening options for them. When you are told about the benefits and risks of screening and decide with your health care provider whether screening is right for youand if so, when to have itthis is called informed and shared decision-making.
Although breast cancer screening cannot prevent breast cancer, it can help find breast cancer early, when it is easier to treat. Talk to your doctor about which breast cancer screening tests are right for you, and when you should have them.
Can I Rely On Breast Self
Mammography can detect tumors before they can be felt, so screening is key for early detection. But when combined with regular medical care and appropriate guideline-recommended mammography, breast self-exams can help women know what is normal for them so they can report any changes to their healthcare provider.If you find a lump, schedule an appointment with your doctor, but dont panic 8 out of 10 lumps are not cancerous. For additional peace of mind, call your doctor whenever you have concerns.
Medically Reviewed on April 15, 2020
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Checking Other Areas For Warning Signs Of Breast Cancer
In some cases, the presence of breast cancer may not be evident in a cyst, or fibroadenoma. The cancer cells may develop in and around the nipple area. Things to watch out for are an indented nipple . Or any kind of discharge from the nipple .
In fact, nipple discharge may be one of the earliest symptoms of breast cancer. A whitish-colored discharge may contain pleomorphic cells, which are highly malignant. The discharge can be easily tested to determine the presence of cancer cells.
What Are The Stages Of Breast Cancer
There are 5 stages of breast cancer:Stage 0: Non-invasive breast cancer no evidence whether the cancer is spreading in neighboring regionsStage 1 4: Varying stages of invasive cancer which starts spreading to nearby tissuesDoctors use various sophisticated techniques to determine which stage cancer you have.
Breast Cancer Screening Recommendations
The United States Preventive Services Task Forceexternal icon is an organization made up of doctors and disease experts who look at research on the best way to prevent diseases and make recommendations on how doctors can help patients avoid diseases or find them early.
The USPSTFexternal icon recommends that women who are 50 to 74 years old and are at average risk for breast cancer get a mammogram every two years. Women who are 40 to 49 years old should talk to their doctor or other health care professional about when to start and how often to get a mammogram. Women should weigh the benefits and risks of screening tests when deciding whether to begin getting mammograms before age 50.
What Should I Look For In A Breast Self
If you get regular periods, the best time to do a breast self-exam is after your period. Your breasts are less likely to be swollen, lumpy, or tender at that time.
If you donât get a period or have irregular ones, pick a day of the month that youâre unlikely to forget and do it then. It should only take you a few minutes.
- Any changes in your breasts, including their look, feel, or size
- Changes in how your nipples look or feel
- Dimpling or puckering on the breast skin
- Hard or thick lumps underneath the breast skin or deep within the tissue
- Pain in one breast or one spot
- Fluids or discharge from a nipple
- Nipple or other parts of your breast pulling inward
- Rashes in or around your breast
- Swelling in one or both breasts
- Warmth, redness, or dark spots on one or both breasts
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Why Is Bse Important
Monthly breast self-examination is an important part of health care for all women in every stage of life.
This is one physical examination you can do yourself, in the privacy of your own home.
Women can discover breast changes themselves through self-exams, so this is an important health routine to establish.
In addition to BSE, women should get regular breast examination by their health care provider. Women should have annual mammograms starting at age 40.
Doing these steps have been shown to improve the chances of early detection of breast cancer.
Definition Of Bse Practice
In the studies based on only women newly diagnosed with breast cancer, the definition of BSE practice varied. It was monthly , monthly or several times a year or at least two or three times per year. In several studies, about half or more of the women in the BSE groups had reported that they checked their breasts monthly . In the two cohort studies women were classified as BSE practitioners, if they did so monthly. In the Russian trial, 76% of women taught BSE reported practising it at least every 2 months , and in the Chinese trial women practised BSE at least every 45 months during the first 45 years of the trial and were strongly encouraged to practise it monthly .
Why Does My Breast Hurt When I Press It
There are different causes for pain in the breast when your press, and these are not necessarily cancer. They include hormonal changes, breast cysts, and injuries to the breast. Speak with your doctor to determine the cause of your breast pain.
If you find a lump or abnormality, dont panic. Remember that the vast majority of breast abnormalities turn out benign or noncancerous.
Besides cancer, breast lumps can be
- fibroadenoma, which is a benign tumor of the breast tissue
- fibrocystic breast disease, which is painful, lumpy breasts caused by hormone changes
- intraductal papilloma, which is a small, benign tumor of the milk ducts
- mammary fat necrosis, which refers to lumps formed by bruised, dead, or injured fat tissue
This doesnt mean that you should ignore a lump or abnormality. If you find a lump, make an appointment with your healthcare professional to have your breast professionally examined.
Perform A Manual Inspection While You Are Lying Down
Lie down on a bed or couch, place a pillow under your left shoulder and put your left hand behind your head. Use your right hand to manually examine your left breast using the same techniques outlined in step 2. Then, position the pillow under your right shoulder, put your right hand behind your head and use your left hand to manually examine your right breast using the same techniques.
If you discover a lump or another abnormality during your monthly breast self-exam, dont panic most breast lumps are not cancerous. Just be sure to discuss any unusual changes with a physician right away.
In the Don & Erika Wallace Comprehensive Breast Program at Moffitt Cancer Center, you can benefit from the latest options in breast cancer screening, diagnostics, treatment and supportive care. To request an appointment, call or complete our new patient registration form online. As Floridas top cancer hospital, we have disrupted the traditional patient care model to provide our patients with rapid care, allowing them to start treatment as soon as possible for the best outcome.
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Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Your Breast Self
Breast cancer awareness month is a great time to start, or continue, breast self-exams. Questions? Call Genesis Medical Associates for women’s health care.
As summer ends and people get back into a daily routine, many women add scheduling a breast cancer screening to their fall task list. Breast cancer screening is one of the most important steps women can take to protect their health, and breast self-examination helps women to identify changes in their breasts so that they can seek medical attention if necessary. October is breast cancer awareness month, a time to remind women of the importance of breast self-exams. Early detection is key to the successful treatment of breast cancer, and self-examination can help women to catch breast cancer in its earliest stages. That’s why we’ve outlined a detailed guide on performing breast self-exams, so you can take charge of your health as early as possible.
How To Do A Breast Self
Check the OUTER HALF of your right breast. Lie down and roll on to your left side to examine your right breast. Place your right hand, palm up on your forehead. Your breast should lie as flat on your chest as possible. It may be easier and more comfortable if you put a pillow behind your shoulder or back.
Using the flat pads of your three middle fingersnot the tipsmove the pads of your fingers in little circles, about the size of a dime. For each little circle, change the amount of pressure so you can feel ALL levels of your breast tissue. Make each circle three timesonce light, once medium, and once deepbefore you move on to the next area.
Start the circles in your armpit and move down to just below the bra line. Then slide your fingers overjust the width of one finger and move up again. Dont lift your fingers from your breast as you move them to make sure you feel the entire area. Continue this up-and-down vertical strip patternfrom your collarbone to just below your bra lineuntil you reach the nipple.
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What To Do If You Find A Lump
Dont panic if you think you feel a lump in your breast. Most women have some lumps or lumpy areas in their breasts all the time, and most breast lumps turn out to be benign . There are a number of possible causes of non-cancerous breast lumps, including normal hormonal changes, a benign breast condition, or an injury.
Dont hesitate to call your doctor if youve noticed a lump or other breast change that is new and worrisome. This is especially true for changes that last more than one full menstrual cycle or seem to get bigger or more prominent in some way. If you menstruate, you may want to wait until after your period to see if the lump or other breast change disappears on its own before calling your doctor. The best healthcare provider to call would be one who knows you and has done a breast exam on you before for example, your gynecologist, primary care doctor, or a nurse practitioner who works with your gynecologist or primary care doctor.
Make sure you get answers. Its important that your doctor gives you an explanation of the cause of the lump or other breast change and, if necessary, a plan for monitoring it or treating it. If youre not comfortable with the advice of the first doctor you see, dont hesitate to get a second opinion.
Breast Changes To Look Out For
See a GP if you notice any of the following changes:
- a change in the size, outline or shape of your breast
- a change in the look or feel of the skin on your breast, such as puckering or dimpling, a rash or redness
- a new lump, swelling, thickening or bumpy area in one breast or armpit that was not there before
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Symptoms To Look Out For
Some people with breast cancer experience no symptoms. In some cases, however, changes may start to occur from an early stage. People should speak with a doctor about their screening plan if they have any concerns.
It is also worth noting that not all breast lumps are breast cancer, and not every case of breast cancer involves a lump. For these reasons, people should attend regular screening as a doctor recommends.
Breast cancer can cause changes in the lymph nodes in the early stages.
To check the lymph nodes, look for:
- a lump, swelling, or thickening around the underarm
- a lump or swelling in the collarbone area
- a thickening of the skin in the armpit
Lymph node involvement can also result in a rash on the breast in people with inflammatory breast cancer.
A person should contact a doctor about these or any other unexplained changes, especially if they only seem to affect one breast.
How To Check For Breast Cancer
Doru Paul, MD, is triple board-certified in medical oncology, hematology, and internal medicine. He is an associate professor of clinical medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and attending physician in the Department of Hematology and Oncology at the New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center.
It’s important that every woman knows how to do a breast self-examination , as it can help in early detection of breast cancer, such as lumps, nipple changes, and more.
Being familiar with what is normal for you will make it easier to recognize any new developments. Furthermore, knowing what’s not normal for anyone can help prompt you to bring such issues to your doctor’s attention, should you notice them during your BSE.
This photo contains content that some people may find graphic or disturbing.
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