Shape Cosmetic Surgery in Spokane and Tri-Cities is concerned not only with your breast appearance but also your breast health. To promote your breast health, do regular breast self-exams. With practice, you’ll discover how your breasts vary in sensitivity and texture at different times during your menstrual cycle. You’ll also learn how breast health changes during various stages of life.
For many women, breast health includes concerns about breast lumps, breast pain or nipple discharge. Know what’s normal — and when to consult your doctor. It’s also important to understand common screening and diagnostic tests for breast health, such as clinical breast exams, mammograms and breast ultrasounds.
A breast self-exam consists of the following five steps:
Step 1: Examine your breasts in the shower or bath. Your hands move more easily over wet and soapy skin. With your fingers flat, move gently over the entire area of each breast, checking for any lump, hard knot, or thickening.
Step 2: Look at your breasts while standing in front of a mirror. Look at them first with your hands at your sides, then with your hands raised over your head, then with your hands pressed firmly on your hips so that your chest muscles are flexed. Look for lumps, new differences in size and shape, and swelling or dimpling of the skin. It is usually normal for your right and left breasts not to match exactly.
Step 3: Examine your breasts with your fingers while sitting or standing. Slowly and methodically press on a breast with the fingers of the opposite hand. With your fingers flat, work in a circular or spiral direction, beginning at the nipple and moving gradually outward.
Step 4: Lie down and repeat step 3. Put a small pillow or rolled up towel under your shoulder on your left side and put your left arm under your head. This distributes the breast tissue more evenly on your chest. Use your right hand to examine your left breast, as in step 3, then use your left hand to examine your right breast. Feel for any lumps or thickening that cannot be felt in the same area in the other breast.
Step 5: Squeeze the nipple of each breast gently between your thumb and index finger. Report any discharge or fluid to your health care provider right away.
A mammogram is an x-ray examination of the breasts, used to detect and diagnose breast diseases. Screening mammography is used as a preventive measure for women who have no symptoms of breast disease. This painless procedure does not squeeze or damage implants as it uses computers and specially designed digital detectors to produce an image that can be displayed on a high-resolution computer monitor, and transmitted and stored as computer files.
Breast implants can change mammogram readings because both silicone and saline implants are not transparent on x-rays and can block a clear view of the tissues behind them. Experienced technologists and radiologists know how to carefully compress the breasts to improve the view without difficulty.
From a patient´s point of view, having a digital mammogram is very much like having a conventional screen-film mammogram. Both film-based and digital mammography use compression and x-rays to create clear images of the inside of the breast. During all mammography exams, the technologist positions the patient to image the breast from different angles and compresses the breast with a paddle to obtain optimal image quality.
Unlike film-based mammography, digital mammograms produce images that appear on the technologists monitor in a matter of seconds. There is no waiting for film to develop, which can mean a shorter time spent in the breast imaging suite.
Mammography is a very safe procedure that uses low doses of radiation to produce high quality x-rays.
Symptoms of ovarian cancer are not specific to the disease, and they often mimic those of many other more-common conditions, including digestive and bladder problems.
When ovarian cancer symptoms are present, they tend to be persistent and worsen with time.
Signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer may include:
Make an appointment with your doctor if you have any signs or symptoms that worry you.
If you have a family history of ovarian cancer or breast cancer, talk to your doctor about your risk of ovarian cancer. In some cases, your doctor may refer you to a genetic counselor to discuss testing for certain gene mutations that increase your risk of breast and ovarian cancers.
A Pap test can save your life. It can find the earliest signs of cervical cancer. If caught early, the chance of curing cervical cancer is very high. Pap tests also can find infections and abnormal cervical cells that can turn into cancer cells. Treatment can prevent most cases of cervical cancer from developing.
Getting regular Pap tests is the best thing you can do to prevent cervical cancer. In fact, regular Pap tests have led to a major decline in the number of cervical cancer cases and deaths.
It is important for all women to have Pap tests, along with pelvic exams, as part of their routine health care. You need a Pap test if you are 21 years or older.
Women who have gone through Menopause (when a woman’s periods stop) still need regular Pap tests. Women ages 65 and older can talk to their doctor about stopping after at least 3 normal Pap tests and no abnormal results in the last 10 years.
It depends on your age and health history. Talk with your doctor about what is best for you. Most women can follow these guidelines:
Please contact your health care provider if you have any questions or concerns about your health.