Breast Exams

Breast Exams and Cancer Prevention in New Jersey

Breast cancer and other breast problems are serious matters, but they can be prevented and even treated with early detection. At Women First Health Center, we regularly perform thorough breast exams for our patients. Visiting us for your annual breast exam and mammogram will provide you with the knowledge that you are taking positive steps in terms of your health and that you are receiving care that is fully focused on you.

Clinical Breast Exams

During your regular medical check-up each year, your gynecologist will perform a clinical breast exam. This physical exam allows your doctor to feel your breasts, armpits, and breastbone area for any lumps or abnormalities. It is important that these exams are performed annually (starting at the age of 20) in order to improve the chances of detecting breast cancer early.

For this exam, you will be asked to undress from the waist up and will generally be provided with some form of cover. Your doctor will first observe the breasts for any changes in size or shape, or changes on the skin of the nipples. Next, your doctor will feel on and around the breasts for any abnormalities, and will look for changes from your previous exams. If you have noticed any breast changes, you should inform your doctor so that they can pay special attention to any areas you are concerned about.

If you are unsure how to examine your own breasts, this is a great time to ask your doctor. They will be able to teach you the proper techniques for performing a breast self-exam and give you information about what you should be looking for.

Breast Self-Exams

It is strongly encouraged that women take the time to perform a breast self-exam each month. Start by being aware of the natural look and feel of your breasts. This simple awareness will make any changes more obvious to you. There are specific steps to a breast self-exam that your doctor can explain to you in detail, but self-exams typically involve using the pads of your fingers to move in a circular motion around your breasts and armpit area (while both standing up and lying down). This simple process will allow you to monitor for lumps or other changes to your breasts. If you notice any changes or feel a new lump, don’t hesitate in scheduling an appointment with your doctor.

A new lump does not necessarily mean you have breast cancer, so try not to be alarmed if you find one. Cysts and infections are often the cause of lumps or changes to the breasts, but it is very important to communicate any concerns to your doctor and get any changes checked as soon as possible. If necessary, further testing on lumps found in the breasts may include a mammogram or a biopsy.

Mammograms

A mammogram is an x-ray picture of the breast that is used by specialists to check for breast cancer in women. This test detects abnormalities and allows them to be examined further, so that if breast cancer is present, it can be treated as early as possible.

A screening mammogram is the type of mammogram performed when there are no signs or symptoms of breast cancer. This precautionary test is meant to check for tumors that cannot be felt during a clinical breast exam.

A diagnostic mammogram is used to check for cancer after a lump or other symptom of breast cancer is detected. This type of mammogram takes longer than a screening mammogram, because more pictures are taken so the area can be fully examined.

Breast Exams and Mammograms in Essex County

Breast cancer can be a scary topic, but if you are aware of the symptoms and take regular precautionary measures, you are taking the right steps towards prevention and early detection. If you have noticed a lump or other change in your breasts, or simply need a prescription for your annual mammogram, contact us today at (973) 669-5711 to schedule an appointment. Women First Health Center is here to provide you with all of the care and services you need to stay aware of your health

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West Orange, NJ 973-322-6375

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