One out of every eight women develops breast cancer at some point in their life. Routine breast exams can catch changes to your breast tissue early and improve your response to treatment. The team at Capital Women’s Care in Montgomery County, which includes Dr. John Gschwend, Dr. Deena Kleinerman, Dr. Rachael Cleberg, Dr. Kirsten Beeson, and Morgan Wilkerson, PA-C, specialize in women’s health and provide breast exams to screen for cancer. Whether it’s time for your annual exam or you found a lump during your self-breast exam, call the Bethesda, Maryland, office today to schedule a consultation.
Breast exams are a screening tool your specialist at Capital Women’s Care uses to assess your breast tissue and look for abnormalities that may indicate breast cancer. During the exam, your specialist visually examines your breast and nipples for changes in skin texture, as well as breast size, shape, and symmetry.
Then, with gloved fingers, your specialist palpates your breast tissue to check for lumps or changes in tissue texture, and also checks the tissue under your armpit. Your specialist may also squeeze your nipples to assess for discharge, which, if present, may require testing.
To ease any discomfort during your breast exam, be sure to schedule it when you’re not menstruating, which is generally when your breasts are most tender.
The Capital Women’s Care team recommend a clinical breast exam once a year during your annual gynecological exam. You may need a breast exam more often if abnormalities were found during your annual exam, if you found changes in your breast tissue during your self-breast exam, or if your genetic testing indicates you’ve inherited the mutations in the breast cancer gene that increases your risk.
When it comes to your health, you are your best advocate. You should be conducting a self-breast exam once a month so you know what your breast tissue normally feels like so if there is tissue change, you can easily identify it and get it checked out right away by your doctor at Capital Women’s Care.
Your specialist at Capital Women’s Care can teach you how to conduct your self-breast exam, but it’s very similar to the breast exam completed at the office. Because your breast tissue changes throughout your monthly menstrual cycle, you should conduct your self-breast exam at the same time every month.
Your specialist at Capital Women’s Care determines when you should start your mammogram screenings, which is an X-ray that looks for abnormal breast tissue. When you start depends on your personal health and family history.
In general, women should begin mammograms between the ages of 40 and 44. However, some women may need to start mammogram screenings earlier due to their medical or family history.
Breast health is an important part of your overall health. For a breast exam, call Capital Women’s Care today.