Increased Breast Cancer Risk
Some women have an increased risk of developing breast cancer. Having an increased risk doesnt mean that you will get cancer, but they must receive more frequent testing. Aging only adds to the increased risk. Risk factors for breast cancer include:
- Carrying a related genetic mutation
- Lobular carcinoma history
- Strong family history of breast cancer
- Having received radiation treatment to the chest
- Having had breast cancer already
Contact us if you believe you may be at an increased risk of breast cancer. We can offer personalized support and recommendations for your testing protocol. Women who have a high risk of breast cancer should begin mammogram testing before age 40. These women may also need an MRI in combination with mammograms.
What Does Having A Mammogram Feel Like
Having a mammogram is uncomfortable for most women. Some women find it painful. A mammogram takes only a few moments, though, and the discomfort is over soon. What you feel depends on the skill of the technologist, the size of your breasts, and how much they need to be pressed. Your breasts may be more sensitive if you are about to get or have your period. A doctor with special training, called a radiologist, will look at the X-ray for early signs of breast cancer or other problems.
- Try not to have your mammogram the week before you get your period or during your period. Your breasts may be tender or swollen then.
- On the day of your mammogram, dont wear deodorant, perfume, or powder. These products can show up as white spots on the X-ray.
- Some women prefer to wear a top with a skirt or pants, instead of a dress. You will need to undress from your waist up for the mammogram.
From General Surgeon To Breast Specialist: Dr Thomas Williams Path
At an appointment with her great-grandmothers cardiologist, Dr. Thomas Williams expressed interest in pursuing medicine. The surgeon, who is still her mentor today, invited her to join him in the operating room to watch one of his procedures. From that point on, she was sold!
Initially, she intended to pursue cardiovascular surgery. However, her path took a different turn during the third year of her surgical Residency. She met a young woman who had recently had a baby and had been diagnosed with breast cancer. It floored her that someone so young could have breast cancer.
She followed that patient through her entire course of treatment, and the experience transformed Dr. Thomas Williams vision for her future. After completing her surgical Residency, she pursued her Breast Fellowship at Yale and then went into private practice.
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When Will I Get The Results Of My Mammogram
You will usually get the results within a few weeks, although it depends on the facility. A radiologist reads your mammogram and then reports the results to you and your doctor. If there is a concern, you will hear from the mammography facility earlier. Contact your health care provider or the mammography facility if you do not receive a report of your results within 30 days.
An example of a normal mammogram. Each womans mammogram may look a little different because all breasts are a little different.
Symptoms Of Breast Cancer
As youre doing breast self-exams, look for the following symptoms:
- Thick tissue or lumps the size of a pea or larger in your breast or underarm
- Nipple discharge, tenderness, or an inverted nipple
- Pitting or ridges in the skin on your breast
- Unusual changes in the shape and size of your breast
- Changes in the way your breast looks or feels
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Are There Specific Warning Signs To Look For During A Breast Self
Often, women who perform monthly breast self-exams have questions. For this reason, our gynecologists are happy to guide you through your first self-exam. They can teach you how to do the exam and help you learn what is normal or abnormal in a breast self-exam. Learning to do a breast self-exam properly can save your life because breast cancers caught and treated early are more often curable.
Most abnormal findings in breast self-exams are non-cancerous. Still, anything out of the ordinary needs to be checked by your doctor, because you may have an infection or another issue with your breast that needs treatment.
I Found A Lump In My Breast What Should I Do
Maybe it happened in the shower. Or during an intimate moment with your partner. You could have been putting on lotion before bed. And there it isa breast lump. Finding one is understandably anxiety-provoking for women.
But before you jump to conclusions, stop and breathe.
Although the most common symptom of breast cancer is a lump or mass, many breast lumps are either benign or a symptom of a condition unrelated to cancer. So how do you tell the difference, and will it disappear on its own?
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Are Breasts Exams Included In A Well
We recommend the yearly well-woman exam or female physical to all women when they become sexually active or when they reach age 21, whichever happens first. This essential womens health care practice gives you access to our team of board-certified health care practitioners who are also on staff at major metropolitan hospitals. Your safety, comfort, and health are our top priorities.
Included in the well-woman exam are a clinical breast examination, pelvic examination, and a PAP smear. Most major health insurance plans cover these preventive care services one time per year.
The Womens Center at Southside Medical Center offers a full range of gynecological services and treatments. You may add these services to your visit in addition to CBE, checkup, or well-woman exams. Your options include:
- Cancer screenings
Contact Green Valley Ob/gyn
Green Valley OB/GYN has been providing the highest quality of obstetric and gynecological care for over 70 years. We offer a comprehensive list of services, including clinical breast exams and screening mammography. To set up an appointment to talk about your health, call us at 378-1110 to schedule an appointment.
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If You Want Breast Reconstruction You Have Options
A mastectomy can be done with or without reconstruction. If reconstruction is an option, women can potentially save the skin and/or the nipple-areolar complex, with the breast reconstructive surgeons placing either an implant or using a woman’s own tissue to reconstruct the breast mound, Dr. Greenup says.
Autologous or “flap” reconstruction transfers excess skin and fat from one part of your body to create a breast. Every patient has input on her final breast size and it can be larger or smaller than her pre-surgical size if she desires, says Michael Alperovich, MD, a Yale Medicine plastic surgeon.
Continue Learning About Women’s Health
Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.
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Why Should I Do A Monthly Self
A monthly self-breast exam is part of a three-part breast health arsenal every woman needs to use to be on guard against breast cancer. The SBE is an inspection of your breasts to increase your awareness of how they look and feel when you are in good health so that you can report any changes or concerns to your doctor. Monthly self-exams also let you take action to help protect yourself against cysts, cancers and infections that affect the breasts.
Monthly self-exams let women be more comfortable with their bodies, and able to provide vital information to their doctors at their yearly physical exams. The monthly BSE should be done along with annual clinical breast exams at the doctors office and mammograms according to the recommended schedule.
Up to 40 percent of breast cancers are initially detected by women who felt a lump at home during a self-exam, according to Johns Hopkins Medical Center. Clinical breast exams and mammograms help diagnose the nature of lumps and other abnormalities, and they are the other two vital parts of the three-part breast health arsenal.
Women should become familiar with the look and feel of their breasts, and report any changes or concerns immediately to their doctors. Most changes women note at home are eventually determined to be benign, but some changes do indicate something more serious is happening. Early detection of a problem is the key to successful resolution.
The Value Of Clinical Breast Exams
Clinical Breast exams are an important part of early detection. Although most lumps are discovered through breast self-exams, an experienced professional may notice a suspicious place that fails to register as a warning in the patients mind.
Materials on this page are courtesy of National Cancer Institute
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What If I Have A Lump In My Breast
As you grow and develop, you will probably notice small lumps and other changes in your breasts. You might also find your breasts are sensitive and tender around the time of your period. If you feel a lump in your breast, don’t panic breast cancer is extremely rare in teens. For teen girls, the most common type of breast lump is usually just part of normal breast growth.
Lots of girls and women have something called fibrocystic breast changes. This is when small fluid-filled cysts in the breasts change size based on where a girl is in her menstrual cycle. Because these cysts have to do with normal hormone changes, they are typically more obvious and may hurt a bit just before a girl’s period. Fibrocystic breast changes are nothing to worry about and don’t need any kind of medical treatment.
Infections also can cause breast lumps. So can an injury to the breast like getting hit in the chest while playing sports.
If you’re worried about a lump in your breast, talk to your doctor. Also call your doctor if you have any of these problems:
- pain in your breast that seems unrelated to your period
- a red, hot, or swollen breast
- fluid or bloody discharge from your nipple
- a lump in your armpit or near your collarbone
Most breast lumps are nothing to worry about, but it always helps to talk to a doctor or nurse about what to expect as your breasts grow. Getting checked out gives you peace of mind.
What If I Find A Lump In My Breast
If you find a lump or another change in your breast, talk to your doctor or nurse as soon as you can. It doesnt necessarily mean you have cancer there are lots of other things, like cysts or infections, that can cause lumps or other changes. But its really important to get checked out just in case. Your doctor can do a breast exam or a mammogram to see if theres something wrong.
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What Are Breast Exams And Why Are They Important
Breast exams are the first-line defense against breast cancer and come in several forms: self-examination, clinical examination, mammogram, ultrasound, and MRI. Using a combination of exams in tandem consistently is the most effective way to detect breast cancer early.
Although having a family history of the disease can increase your risk, you do not have to have a hereditary breast cancer link for it to develop. Seventy percent of all breast cancer cases occur in women with no known family history of the disease. Because of the spontaneous nature of the disease, its crucial that all women learn about the various exams for breasts and when to get them.
Examine Your Breasts With Your Hands
- First, examine your breasts in the shower or bath.
- Lather your hands and your breasts. This helps your fingers slide over your skin.
- Use a circular motion to identify areas of your breasts. Get to know how each breast feels.
- Eventually, you will know each breast so well that any changes are immediately apparent to your hands.
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What Happens During A Breast Exam
Before your breast exam, your health care provider will ask you detailed questions about your health history, including your menstrual and pregnancy history. Questions might include what age you started menstruating, if you have children, and how old you were when your first child was born.
A thorough breast exam will be performed. For the exam, you undress from the waist up. Your health care provider will look at your breasts for changes in size, shape, or symmetry. Your provider may ask you to lift your arms over your head, put your hands on your hips or lean forward. They will examine your breasts for any skin changes including rashes, dimpling, or redness. This is a good time to learn how to do a breast self-exam if you don’t already know how.
As you lay on your back with your arms behind your head, your health care provider will examine your breasts with the pads of the fingers to detect lumps or other changes. The area under both arms will also be examined.
Your health care provider will gently press around your nipple to check for any discharge. If there is discharge, a sample may be collected for examination under a microscope.
Are Breast Exams A Substitute For Mammograms
A breast exam can identify changes in the breast. However, it isnt a substitute for a mammogram. Women who are age 50 or over should get an annual mammogram regardless of whether theyve had a breast exam. Younger women may also need mammograms if Dr. Slaughter discovers a lump during a breast exam or if theyre at a higher risk of developing breast cancer than the general population.
Major Insurance Plans Accepted
At The Healthy Woman, we accept most major insurance plans. Here is a short-list of just some of the most popular plans we accept. Please also check with your insurance to make sure you use their preferred laboratory. Please contact our office if you do not see your insurance provider listed here.
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What Are Breast Exams
Breast exams are a screening tool your specialist at Capital Womens Care uses to assess your breast tissue and look for abnormalities that may indicate breast cancer. During the exam, your specialist visually examines your breast and nipples for changes in skin texture, as well as breast size, shape, and symmetry.
Then, with gloved fingers, your specialist palpates your breast tissue to check for lumps or changes in tissue texture, and also checks the tissue under your armpit. Your specialist may also squeeze your nipples to assess for discharge, which, if present, may require testing.
To ease any discomfort during your breast exam, be sure to schedule it when youre not menstruating, which is generally when your breasts are most tender.
A 3d Mammogram Is More Accurate Than A 2d One
Mammography remains the standard of care for diagnosing breast cancer, but there are new technologies that are more advanced than the traditional 2D or 2View mammography, says Mehra Golshan, MD, MBA, a breast cancer surgeon and deputy chief medical officer for Surgical Services at Smilow Cancer Hospital and director of the Breast Cancer Program.
With whats called tomosynthesis, you get multiple images of the breast to be able to find the cancer or abnormality at a much earlier or smaller stage, Dr. Golshan says.
It also helps characterize lesions better, preventing unnecessary biopsies, says Yale Medicines Liane Philpotts, MD, a radiologist at the Breast Center at Smilow Cancer Hospital.
To the patient, 3D mammography will feel exactly the same as 2D, and is done at the same radiation dose, Dr. Philpotts says.
There’s also breast MRI, which is a technique where a woman gets multiple images of the breast before and after getting what’s called contrast with gadolinium, Dr. Golshan points out. Usually we use that in high-risk women with breast cancer or at risk of developing breast cancer, he says.
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How Is A Mammogram Done
You will stand in front of a special X-ray machine. A technologist will place your breast on a plastic plate. Another plate will firmly press your breast from above. The plates will flatten the breast, holding it still while the X-ray is being taken. You will feel some pressure. The steps are repeated to make a side view of the breast. The other breast will be X-rayed in the same way. You will then wait while the technologist checks the X-rays to make sure the pictures do not need to be redone. Keep in mind that the technologist cannot tell you the results of your mammogram. Each womans mammogram may look a little different because all breasts are a little different.
Breast Cancer Treatment Is A Team Effort
Prior to beginning your course of treatment, you may have consultations with multiple physicians, including a medical oncologist, surgeon, and a radiation oncologist. You may also be referred to other care providers such as a plastic surgeon or genetic counselor.
In some cases, the process of seeing all of the physicians in your care team may take several weeks, says Susan A. Higgins, MD, a radiation oncologist who specializes in treating breast cancer. However, this is a normal part of multidisciplinary care that is now the standard for breast cancer.
In fact, this is a benefit to coming to Yale, Dr. Greenup says. We have subspecialists in surgery, medical oncology, radiation oncology, pathology, breast imaging, and breast reconstruction, she says. We also have social support services through Smilow Cancer Hospital that really provide tailored care to women with breast cancer. The literature is quite clear that treatment at a high-volume center does improve patient outcomes and the quality of treatment women have along the way.
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