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Breast Self Exam:
Your Breast Cancer Check

Women know how their breasts normally look and feel. Because the breast tissue responds to hormonal changes, some lumps can come and go. By doing regular breast self exam, you can easily notice any changes in your breasts. Doing a self breast exam also important for women who have had breast implants. A change can be a sign of a problem, and while not all problems are breast cancer, it’s important to know that breast cancer is easier to treat the earlier it is found.

For that reason, some experts recommend that women over age 20 perform a monthly breast self exam. Emory Decatur Hospital recommends women follow the guidelines of the American Cancer Society for this breast cancer check through a self breast exam. It should be done monthly by all women starting in their 20s to look for new lumps and other changes.

Your Breast Cancer Check Through Self Exam

It’s best to perform monthly breast self exam three to five days after your period, when your breasts are the least tender and lumpy. Women should report any changes in how their breasts look or feel to their health professional right away.

Breast self exam is simple when you use this information and these illustrations on how to conduct self breast exam. Ask your doctor or nurse to check your method to make sure you are doing it right. This breast cancer check, while very important, is NOT a substitute for having regular exams by your health care professional.

You should contact your doctor if:

  • The skin on your breast appears dimpled or wrinkled like the peel of an orange.
  • You find a new breast lump during your monthly self breast exam.
  • You have bruising on your breast, but have not had an injury that would have caused the bruise.
  • You have nipple discharge, especially if it is bloody or pinkish.
  • Your nipple is inverted or turned inward but normally is not inverted.

If you have symptoms of breast cancer, call the experts at Emory Decatur Hospital. Dial 404.501.EASY to talk with a specially trained nurse who can discuss your concerns and make sure you receive prompt medical care. We'll see to it that you have an immediate breast cancer check with a mammogram and a convenient appointment with a physician who specializes in breast care - all usually within 24 hours.

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