Unfortunately, an estimated 12%, or 1 out of every 8, women will get invasive breast cancer. In this year alone, more than a quarter-million new cases of the disease will be diagnosed. Many of them will need breast surgery to treat the disease.
Because early detection vastly increases survival rates, our team of surgeons and surgical oncologists at Desert West Surgery in Las Vegas, Nevada, work diligently to identify a suspicious lump and investigate your symptoms using advanced diagnostic tools and techniques. To help you detect a problem before it advances and becomes life-threatening, we recommend these best practices:
Assess your risk
You’re at risk of developing breast cancer if you have a family history, you started your period before age 12, entered menopause after age 55, you’re obese, you regularly drink alcohol, you’ve been exposed to radiation, or your first pregnancy was after you were 39 years old. Other factors linked to breast cancer development are poor diet, lack of exercise, estrogen exposure, stress, and anxiety. Understanding your risk profile can help you and your doctor make informed decisions about your health.
Since 40% of lumps or tumors are discovered on your own, breast health educators recommend that you perform a breast self-exam each month, preferably just after your period. We advise you to perform your exam with a bit of soap and water while in the shower. Place one hand behind your head, use the other hand to run your fingertips in a circular motion on the outside of your breasts while working your way in toward the nipple. Make the same circular movements with your fingers in your armpits where lymph nodes reside. Take note of any of these breast concerns and talk to your doctor about them:
- Discharge from your nipple
- Changes in shape or size
- Nipple inversion
- Lumps, knots, masses, or thickening
- Itching nipples
For help conducting your breast self-exam properly, follow the guidelines at https://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-self-exam
Clinical breast exam
As part of your regular gynecological check-up, most doctors also conduct a clinical breast exam while you’re in for your pap smear and pelvic exam. They will be looking for the same breast abnormalities listed above and can help you identify problems that you may not discover yourself through self-examination.
Mammogram, Ultrasound, and MRI
Mammograms, ultrasounds, and MRIs are diagnostic tests frequently used to help with early detection. Each comes with its benefits and risks, so talk to your doctor about what’s best for you and how often you should be tested.
If you need a biopsy to learn more about a suspicious lump or mass or if you are facing a lumpectomy or mastectomy, turn to our caring and skilled team for comprehensive care. Call the location closest to you, or book your appointment online.