Early dedection is your best defense against breast cancer. This involves self-examinatio on a regular basis starting at age 20 and mammography beginning by age 40, as recommended by the American Cancer Society. Mammography remains the most effective method available to detect breast cancer in its earliest, most treatable stage. Mammograms can detect a tumor up to two years before it can be felt during a physical examination.
The good news is that 80% of all breast lumps are benign, or cancer-free. The 20% that are malignant (cancerous) can be treated immediately upon detection for an excellent chance of recovery.
Fibricystic Changes of the Breast
Fibrocystic changes are common, and often are not a cause for alarm. It is the most frequent cause of breast lumps in women age 35-50, and is caused by the mammary glands, ducts and fibrous tissue overreacting to normal hormonal changes. As a result, multiple pockets of fluid develop and an increase in fibrous tissue may form. Tenderness and lump size commonly increase during the week before menstruation and decrease the week after.
Breast cancer is one of the easiest types of cancer to identify, which is why treatment is often so successful when administered early. By examing your breasts carefully at the same time each month, you will be able to notice any unusuall changes, thickening, or lumps. It is recommended that women examine their breasts 2-3 days after menstruation stops, when their breasts are least likely to be tender or swollen.
Most breast lumps or other changes in breast tissue that may be cancer are found by women who examine their breasts regularly. If you do find a lump, don't panic. Most lumps are not cancerous. Do consult your doctor, however, to determine the status of the suspicious lump. It is important to find out early if you have breast cancer because it is a progressive disease. If left untreated, it continues to grow and can spread to other areas of the body. Here is how to do BSE (Breast Self Examination):
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