Breast Self Examination is IMPORTANT
KNOW YOUR OWN BREASTS
CHECK THEM REGULARLY – IF YOU ARE STILL HAVING PERIODS THE BEST TIME TO CHECK IS THE WEEK AFTER YOUR PERIOD
- LOOK in the mirror and see if there are any size, skin or nipple skin changes or nipple discharge (often seen on nightclothes)
- LIFT YOUR ARMS and look for any nipple skin or breast skin puckering
- FEEL with the flat of your hand as if you are washing you breasts (which is also a good time to check). Do this with your hand on your hip and also feel into the armpit.
- GO!!! TO YOUR DOCTOR IF YOU NOTICE ANY NEW CHANGES especially if they are on one breast only
from the age of forty or ten years younger than the youngest person affected by breast cancer in your family you should begin regular imaging.
A screening mammogram is looking for changes that can not be felt, particularly precancerous cells = DCIS = ductal carcinoma in situ. Both Breastscreen and private imaging centres offer screening mammograms and with a family history of breast cancer private imaging will also do the mammogram for no out of pocket cost.
Any palpable change should also have a breast ultrasound examination. Breastscreen do not offer routine ultrasounds.
Importantly mammograms (even the latest CT tomosynthesis mammograms) miss 10% of breast cancers. An ultrasound added to the test may see lesions which are felt.
Both mammogram and ultrasounds can miss -DCIS, lobular cancers, cancers behind the nipple and inflammatory breast cancer.
The most sensitive breast investigation is a Breast MRI. The cost and quality of this varies greatly in Melbourne!