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EARLY DETECTION FOR BREAST CANCER

A woman can develop breast cancer at any age, but the risk increases as a woman grows older.It also can increase in oder women if they are using estrogen products for treatments for menopause.When a breast tumor is found in its earliest stages, a woman has better than 90% chance of long-term survival. Much progress has been made in treating breast cancer. Many women no longer lose a breast to this disease. Today's generation of women has a better chance of surviving breast cancer and leading a happy, active lifestyle. Finding breast cancer as early as possible is most important.

SCHEDULE MAMMOGRAMS

A mammogram is a special x-ray that can find breast tumors up to two years before they can be felt. Advice about when and how often to have a mammogram should come from a health care provider.

When a woman has a mammogram, she stands next to the x-ray machine and a technologist helps place her breast on a plastic tray. Another tray is put on top of her breast and, only for a few seconds, pressure is applied to flatten the breast while the x-ray is taken.

Mammography uses a very low level of radiation and is completely safe when done at an accredited center.

There are accredited mammography centers across the United States. A health care provider or a national cancer organization can help find an accredited center.

Most states require mammography benefits through employers' insurance coverage. Medicare benefits are available to women over age 65. Underinsured or uninsured women should call the organizations listed below.

Many accredited mammography centers offer discounts during October, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. To find a local center, call any of the toll-free numbers.

BREAST EXAMINATION

A woman should have a clinical breast exam by her health provider at least once a year and should do a breast self-exam (BSE) once a month. BSE may help a woman detect a change in her breast.

BREAST SELF-EXAM (BSE)

1. While taking a shower or bath, gently explore the breast and underarm areas with fingertips.

2. Raise arms in front of a mirror to check for changes in size, shape and contour of each breast. Gently squeeze both nipples and look for discharge.

3. Lie with an arm tucked behind the head, and with the other hand, examine the opposite breast for lumps, thickening or other changes.

USE OF FINGER PADS

Press with top third of fingers. Use the same pattern to feel every part of the breasts.