Gynecology - Cancer and Women - Breast Cancer
To help detect breast cancer, women should examine their breasts at home every month. Most women find their own breast lumps through self-breast exams. It is best done a few days after your period starts, when your breasts are not tender or swollen. Regular mammography should be performed annually for women over 40. If you have risk factors a mammography may be performed more frequently. A baseline mammography may be recommended early with a strong family history, about age 35.
You should look for and inform your healthcare provider if you notice any of the following warning signs. Be alert to any lump, thickening, swelling, or dimpling of the breast, irritation of the breast skin, nipple distortion, retraction, nipple discharge or bleeding, or pain/tenderness.
As you get older, your risk increases. If detected early, breast cancer can be treated with good results. Certain factors have been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. These include family history, especially in a mother or sister, starting your period before age 12, first child after age 35 or no children, late menopause, and a high fat diet.