Know Your Breasts

More than 96 percent of women with breast cancer are cured if it is detected and treated early. Following these guidelines improves the chances that breast cancer can be found at an early stage and treated with success.

Breast Cancer Screening Begins at Home

Early detection of breast cancer starts with making breast care a priority, and breast care starts at home. No one knows your body like you do. You might think that you only need to look for bumps or lumps, but changes in breast shape, discharge, hardening/thickening of the tissue, or new focal pain are all symptoms to lookout for.

Know how your breasts normally look and feel and report any new breast changes to a health professional, including:

  • A lump in the underarm area
  • Lumps in or on the breast
  • Swelling of all or part of the breast; feels hard, warm or tender
  • Unexplained shrinkage of one or both breasts
  • Change in breast color
  • Skin irritation, itching or dimpling
  • Breast pain
  • Nipple pain, change in appearance, or the nipple turning inward
  • Redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
  • A nipple discharge other than breast milk

Regular Screenings

The second line of defense in breast health care is regular screenings. If you have a strong history of breast cancer in your family, your doctor may advise that you begin mammography before age 40. 

Breast-related medical imaging exams (which include tests such as mammograms, ultrasounds and MRIs) have changed the fight against breast cancer by providing women like you with the option of early detection. Catching cancer early is the key to breast health. It starts when you make an appointment at an imaging facility, like one of the many BayCare imaging service locations around town, and by making your breast health a priority.