As one of the world’s most common cancers, don’t think breast cancer can’t happen to you. Regular cancer screenings and exams from your OB/GYN are among the most important forms of preventive care for women.
What’s a Breast Cancer Screening?
Breast cancer screenings are essentially meant to check a woman’s breasts for cancer before its signs or symptoms. Like pap smear exams, breast cancer screenings are a form of preventive care to ensure that you’re healthy or deliver cancer treatment as soon as possible.
While breast cancer screenings cannot prevent you from developing cancer, regular tests can help find breast cancer early when it is easier to treat. This is potentially life-saving, so it’s important to talk to your OB/GYN in Miami about which breast cancer screening tests are right for you and when you should have them.
If you’re 40 to 49 years old, you should talk to your doctor or other health care provider about when to start getting cancer screenings like mammograms and how often to get them as genetics, and other factors might make you more at risk of developing breast cancer.
Women who are 50 to 74 years old are at average risk for breast cancer, so it’s typically recommended that they get a mammogram every two years. Women should discuss with their doctors to weigh the benefits and risks of screening tests when deciding whether to begin mammograms before age 50.
Your OB/GYN will be able to assess the risks you have and inform you about the best screening options available.
Types of Breast Cancer Screenings/Exams
- Self Exam This type of exam is one that women don’t need to go to the doctor for but should supplement exams and screenings done by medical professionals. It’s important to familiarize yourself with how your breasts look and feel to notice any abnormalities that may come up, such as lumps, pain, or size changes. You should report any changes that you notice to your OB/GYN so that he or she can do more thorough exams and/or screenings.
- Clinical Exam This is an examination by a doctor or nurse who uses his or her hands to feel for lumps or other changes. While these exams are more thorough than self-exams, they are not as thorough as other professional exams.
- Ultrasonography Just like with pregnancy, breast ultrasounds are a type of imaging that uses sound waves to create pictures of the inside your body. Breast ultrasounds can capture images of areas of the breast that may be difficult to see with mammography. It can also help to determine whether a breast lump is a solid mass or a fluid-filled cyst.
- Mammogram This is an X-ray of the breast. Mammograms are the best way to find breast cancer early when it is easier to treat, and before it is big enough to feel or cause symptoms. Having regular mammograms can lower the risk of dying from breast cancer because you’ll get treatment earlier.
- Breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) A breast MRI uses magnets and radio waves to take pictures of the breast. MRIs are used along with mammograms to screen women who are at high risk of getting breast cancer. Because breast MRIs may appear abnormal even when there is no cancer, they are not used for women at average risk.
Cancer Screening in Miami | Dr. Susan Fox, OB/GYN
At Dr. Susan Fox’s Center for Women, we stress the importance of routine examinations to all of our patients. Regular breast cancer screenings are crucial in ensuring the overall health of any woman.
These tests can detect different forms of cancer early on, allowing treatment to begin before the cancer has a chance to progress and worsen. When it comes to cancer treatment, the earlier the cancer is detected, the better.
Many women have avoided drastic surgeries and treatment options by keeping track of cancer screening and completing them often.