Best Practices for Early Breast Cancer Detection (awareness month)

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.

Breast self-exam

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:

For help conducting your breast self-exam properly, follow the guidelines at

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.

You Might Also Enjoy...

When Colon Surgery Might Be Necessary

Today, there are lots of conservative options for treating colon problems. But sometimes, colon surgery is the best and most appropriate approach. Here’s when you might need colon surgery.

Understanding the Different Types of Thyroid Surgery

Some types of thyroid disease respond well to medication. Other thyroid issues require a surgical solution. Here’s when thyroid surgery is typically recommended, along with a quick overview of the primary types of thyroid surgery.

Foods to Avoid if You Have Gallbladder Issues

Millions of Americans have gallbladder disease, and for many, that means pain and other symptoms right after eating. While gallbladder surgery is necessary for some people, cutting these nine foods can reduce symptoms in others.

Warning Signs You Have a Hernia

More than a million people suffer from hernias every year. Thankfully, hernias can be treated. The key is getting treatment as early as possible. Here’s what signs and symptoms you should be looking for.

Adjusting Your Diet When You Have Diverticulitis

Diverticulitis can cause a lot of painful symptoms. While medical interventions can certainly be helpful, many patients find relief with just a few simple changes in their eating habits. Here’s what to do if you’ve been diagnosed with diverticulitis.

What to Expect From Your First Colonoscopy

If a colonoscopy is in your future, don’t worry: It’s a lot simpler than you probably think. Here’s what to expect before, during, and after your first colonoscopy at Desert West Surgery.