Self-Exams And Regular Mammograms Are Essential For Early Detection

Author: Marjorie Broussard, M.D., Family Medicine, Kelsey-Seybold Clinic – West Grand Parkway

Early detection of breast cancer helps improve patient outcomes. A common misconception is that only older women are at risk for breast cancer. In reality, adults of any age – women and men – may be diagnosed with breast cancer.

Beginning in their 20s, women and men with a family history of breast cancer or who fall into a higher risk category should do regular breast self-exams. Around the same time each month, examine breasts for:

  • Lumps
  • Dimpling
  • Changes in skin texture or color
  • Unusual tenderness
  • Discharge

If you notice a change, schedule a visit with your primary care physician to have those changes assessed.

Starting at age 40, or earlier based on your family history and individual risk factors, it is recommended that women begin annual mammogram screenings. Radiologists compare the results from year to year and look for changes.

Early detection, whether through self-exams or mammograms, is the best line of defense for identifying breast cancer in its earlier stages, when treatment options have an increased chance of yielding the best outcomes.