Detecting Breast Cancer
A breast self-exam is not recommended as a screening tool for breast cancer. However, it is important to become familiar with the way your breast normally look and feel. Knowing what is normal for you will help you see or feel changes in your breasts.
See your physician if you notice any of these warning signs of breast cancer:
- Lump, hard knot, or thickening inside the breast or underarm area
- Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening of the breast
- Change in size or shape of the breast
- Dimpling or puckering of the skin
- Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
- Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast
- Nipple discharge that starts suddenly
- New pain in one spot that doesn’t go away
If you notice any of these warning signs, contact your physician.
The American Cancer Society recommends a mammography for women of average risk every year beginning at age 40. They also recommend a clinical breast exam every 3 years for women ages 20-39 and yearly beginning at age 40. Women at higher risk may need to get screened earlier and more frequently.