According to Johns Hopkins Medical Center, 40% of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump so establishing a self exam on a regular basis is very important. While mammograms can detect cancer before you feel a lump, self exams will familiarize you with your breast so you can better recognize any changes.
You should not rely on self exams alone, however. Doctors recommend women over 40 should also get annual mammograms and clinical breast exams. Mammography can detect tumors before they can be felt. Clinical breast exams are important because they are administered by a professional who can notice abnormalities that you may not recognize.
If your test results are abnormal, note that 8 out of 10 abnormalities are found not to be cancerous. The only way to be certain any discoveries are not cancerous is through further testing such as Ultra Sounds or MRIs. Sometimes your radiologist will require a biopsy as well.
The best way you can fight against breast cancer is to have a plan that helps you with detecting any abnormalities in an early stage. Create your plan by setting reminders to do self exams and also to schedule clinical exams (and mammograms based on your age, health history and history of cancer in your family).
Remember, breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer related deaths of women in the United States. All women are at risk for breast cancer as well as some men. When breast cancer is caught early and treated, however, survival rates can be near 100%.
Please visit www.cancer.org as a valuable source for more information about cancer prevention, treatment, support and ways you can get involved in supporting the American Cancer Society.