Breast Exams and Mammograms
Breast exams and breast cancer screening involves one or a combination of these methods:
- Self breast exam
- Clinical breast exam
Self breast exams are something you can do right in the comfort of your own home. For self-exams, feel your breasts regularly, perhaps monthly, to detect any new lumps, swelling, or distortions of the breast.
Clinical breast exams are completed by your provider during an office visit. Your provider is trained to look and feel for abnormalities in size, shape, skin, and nipples of your breast.
A mammogram is an xray of the breast that captures an image of breast tissue. It shows normal and abnormal structures in the breasts. It can detect breast cancer in it earliest stages. An xray machine made especially for breast tissue will compress the breast and take pictures from different angles.
A breast ultrasound is a screening tool that can target a particular area of the breast to distinguish normal findings from suspicious ones. A small instrument is placed on the skin and converts sound waves from breast tissue into an image. Ultrasounds are often used as a screening tool in conjunction with a mammogram or on young women who do not need routine mammograms yet.