Early Detection - The Key to Breast Cancer Prevention
Keeping Brooklyn Healthy

Early Detection - The Key to Breast Cancer Prevention

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. But that doesn’t mean October is the only time to think about breast health.

The key is to find problems early. Because that’s when today’s advanced treatments work best and save the most lives.

If you’re 40 or older, the American Cancer Society recommends you examine your breasts every month, have a clinical breast checkup every year, and have a mammogram every year or as recommended by your doctor. If you’re between 20 and 39, examine your breasts every month and have a clinical breast checkup every three years or as recommended by your doctor. You may need a mammogram before 40 if you have risk factors.

Risk factors for breast cancer.

Some factors, such as a family history of breast cancer, are out of your hands. But there are factors you can control — smoking, having more than one alcoholic drink a day, being out of shape, or taking birth control pills. Please discuss these and other risk factors with your doctor!

Individualized treatment plans.

At The Brooklyn Hospital Center, you benefit from advanced screening and treatment technology. If cancer or a precancerous condition is present, we’ll design a personalized treatment plan for you that may include precision radiation technology, hormonal therapy or surgery. We’ll even coordinate your care through our Breast Cancer Navigator Program.

Take matters into your own hands.

One of the best gifts you can give yourself is a monthly breast self-exam (BSE). This will help you learn how your breasts normally feel, so if you find a lump or anything else out of the ordinary, you can tell your physician immediately.

Monthly breast self-exams should always include: visual inspection (with and without a mirror) to note any changes in contour or texture; and manual inspection in standing and reclining positions to note any unusual lumps or thicknesses.

BSE is a useful and essential screening technique, especially when combined with mammography and regular physical exams by your doctor. About 20% of the time, breast cancers are found by BSE rather than by mammography.

Fortunately, though, most lumps turn out not to be cancer. Ask your doctor how to perform a breast self-exam or check the Healthcare Library section of www.tbh.org.

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