Due to the prevalence of breast cancer in women in the United States, it is important to continually be on top of your breast health. Roughly one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. It is often a misconception that breast cancer affects mostly those with close family members who have also had it. However, only 3% of breast cancers (roughly 7,500 women per year) result from inherited mutations of the genes that are passed on in their families. This is why staying on top of your breast health, going to your regular women’s health appointments, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important. Below you will find more information on the importance of a breast self-exam and your mammography appointments.
Importance of a Breast Self-Exam
It is recommended that adult women perform breast self-exams at least once a month. This should not be done in lieu of your regular mammograms or other women’s health appointments but should be done in conjunction with them. One of the major benefits of breast self-exams is familiarizing yourself with your own breasts in terms of how they look and feel. By doing this, you can easily notice any changes in your breasts, which should be reported to your medical provider.
Self Breast Exam 101
Breast self-exams are quick and easy. They should be done in the shower, in front of the mirror, and even while lying down in bed. Try and maintain consistency in terms of when you do it. Your breasts can change during certain times of the month due to hormonal changes that occur during your menstrual cycle. So doing it at the same time each month can help.
When you do your self-exam in the shower, use the flats of your three middle fingers to check your breast area and armpit. You should also visually examine your breasts in the mirror with your arms at your side and also above your head. When lying down, put a pillow under your right shoulder with your right arm behind your head. Use the flats of your three middle fingers on your left hand to gently feel around. Repeat this on the other side as well. Again, this should not be done in lieu of your regular mammograms or other women’s health appointments.
Schedule Regular Mammograms
It is clear that breast self-exams can help you familiarize yourself with your breast tissue. But also, regular mammograms prove vital for your breast and overall health. Talk with a doctor about your medical and family history. This way, they can advise you on when you should get your first mammogram. Most often women get their first mammogram when they are 40 years old. However, if your medical or family history warrants it, you may need to get it sooner. Once you get your first mammogram, it is advised to get them annually to stay on top of your breast health.
Are you over the age of forty and have not scheduled your first mammogram? Then you should schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Because early detection is the best way to ensure a breast cancer diagnosis has a good outcome, it’s best not to put the appointment off any longer. In the case that your mammogram comes back abnormal, you’ll need a diagnostic mammogram exam. This will help further assess the abnormality that showed up on your initial mammogram.
Mammography Specialists in Houston
If it’s time for you to schedule a mammogram appointment, contact Pink Door Imaging. Dr. Mahesh Shetty has decades of experience in women’s health, including diagnostic mammogram exams. Pink Door Imaging offers an integrated approach to women’s health, and they are mindful of patient anxiety and fears. Their goal is to educate, relieve any patient anxiety, and guide patient’s in making the best decision for them no matter what their health issue is. Contact the top mammography specialists in Houston today for an appointment!