Detecting Early Signs of Breast Cancer
Screening recommendations have become controversial in recent years with many differing opinions from leading experts in breast imaging and breast health. It is important for patients to discuss their own screening plan with their primary care providers.
Many organizations, including the American College of Radiology and the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecologists, recommend yearly screening beginning at age 40 for all women. Other organizations including the American Cancer Society are more specific depending on age and family history. Ultimately, the decision on when and how often to screen must be made by the patient and their primary care provider.
In addition to mammograms, reporting of unusual symptoms to your primary care physician can assist with early detection. Although family history can alert a physician to patients with increased risk, 75% of females diagnosed with cancer have no family history.
Signs of abnormalities may include:
- a lump or swelling
- skin irritation or dimpling
- nipple pain or the nipple turning inward
- redness or scaliness of the nipple or breast skin
- discharge other than breast milk
- a lump in the underarm area
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