Prisma Health is reminding women to take preventative measures and be aware of the symptoms related to breast cancer during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women, so catching developments of the disease early is critical.
“All women should be familiar with how their breasts normally look and feel and performing a self-breast exam is a good way to know if something is different or just doesn’t feel right, so you can report it to your doctor,” said Dr. Joni Coker at Prisma Health Carolina Women’s Center in Clinton. “For women aged 40 and over, a yearly mammogram is the best way to increase chances of catching early developments of the disease.”
According to the American Cancer Society, a mammogram can detect breast cancer years before the cancer grows large enough to be felt in an examination or physical symptoms develop. New 3D mammography technology provides doctors with a more detailed picture of the breast tissue and reduces the chances of a false positive or a false negative. That means doctors are less likely to need additional mammograms for masses or lesions that are benign, and more likely to find smaller hidden cancers.
Women should consult with their healthcare provider if any changes in the breast start to occur including:
- Change in the size or shape of the breast
- Dimpling or puckering of the skin
- Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
- Lump, hard knot or thickening inside the breast or underarm area
- New pain in one spot that doesn’t go away
- Nipple discharge that starts suddenly
- Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast
- Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening of the breast
“A history of breast cancer in your family will also put you at an increased risk. In that case, talking to your doctor about the possibility of genetic counseling is important because it can be a crucial way to reduce the chance of cancer development through personalized screening and risk-reduction plans,” said Coker.
To schedule a mammogram at Laurens County Hospital or another convenient location, visit https://prismahealth.org/breast-cancer-screening.