First off ALL, Happy Women’s Month Ladies.
Here’s to more life in good health and stilettos ?.
Do you know about breast cancer screening and its advantages? Now, moving unto the theme for the month – women’s health and love, we will be discussing the importance of regular breast cancer screening to our health.
What Is Breast Cancer Screening?
Given that breast cancer is not the kind of disease that gives obvious physical symptoms, regular breast screening (the process of checking your breast for cancer or medical signs) is necessary for all adult women annually.
This is so because routine breast cancer screening allows for early detection, which is the best way to manage cancer and, by implication, treatment.
It means medications, surgery etc., can be used earlier to manage any growing tumour or dangers to a patient’s life.
To screen your breast, you may decide to carry out an MRI, a self-exam, tissue biopsy or thermography to check for tumours. However, the two most common methods women use for breast inspections are self-exams (which can be carried out by the patient at home) and mammograms.
A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast used to detect and screen for early signs of cancer and tumours too small to be felt. This is a best way for breast cancer screening.
During a mammogram screening, the mammography machine will press your breast between two plates to allow a picture of your breast tissues.
While it is not a painful procedure, discomfort varies in patients. Therefore, you may need to take pain medications before or after the mammogram to lessen the discomfort from compression.
Also, based on your symptoms and personal health history like hormones, age, breast density, etc. You may be required to carry out a different screening to exclude a false positive or negative.
A breast exam can be done clinically or through self-exam.
In the case of the former, a doctor checks/feels your breast region, underarm, and under the breast for any unusual changes. On the other hand, with self-exams, the person examining you doesn’t need to be a professional. It maybe you or your partner/husband.
If you wish to self-examine for tumours, gently, using your fingers, press your breast and check for any abnormal changes in shape, feel or look. Should you find any cause for concern, immediately report to your healthcare provider
Note: All adult women are encouraged to perform self-exams at least once a month.
Indeed, they are a significant part of cancer protection, and several reports show that 70% of women discovered their breast lump independently.
Choosing Between Mammography and Self-Exam
While both mammography and self-exams are great tools for breast cancer screening and early detection of cancer, they each have peculiar advantages and characteristics.
In deciding which to carry out between mammograms and self-exams, you should note that:
- Mammograms can help you detect benign lumps and tumours before you even feel a lump, unlike breast self-exams.
We are not saying self-exams are insignificant in the battle against breast cancer but don’t detect early-stage cancer.
- Mammograms expose the breasts to radiation, although the amount of radiation from each mammogram is quite low.
- Screening with mammography is not advisable during pregnancy for women who aren’t at risk of cancer.
- A self-exam is not a painful process like a mammogram.
When should you contact a doctor or laboratory centre after a self-exam?
You should make an appointment with your healthcare provider or come in for a mammogram with us if you notice:
- A hard lump or knot near your underarm and collarbone.
- Retracted or inverted nipples.
- Changes in the way your breasts look or feel.
- Dimples, puckers, bulges, or ridges on the skin of your breast.
- Swelling or pain in the breast.
- Itching, scales, sores, or rashes on the breast.
- Bloody nipple discharge.
This month, do something nice for you and the girls. Book a mammogram appointment here or walk into any of our laboratory centres to request immediate service.
Remember, breast cancer no dey show for face.