Breast self-examination

To minimize the effect of breast cancer, it is important to catch it at an early stage. Since the only visible symptom is usually the lump, it is necessary to be able to do a self-examination.

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You cannot actually prevent the development of breast cancer, but you might be able to catch it at a very early stage, if you are checking your breasts consistently. Self-examination is essential in noticing a potential lump. Furthermore, you can get free breast screening for breast cancer through your health insurance, which gives a detailed analysis of the breast and has detected as many as 252,710 cases per a year.

Examining your breast

The best way of controlling whether you have a lump or not, is to get to know how your breasts normally feel through self-examination. In the beginning you will need to check you breasts often, to see how they change over the course of time. It is normal for a breast to change structure e.g. right before and during a period. These changes are normal and should not cause any worries. But the important thing is to know your breast well enough to tell the regular changes from a potential cancerous lump. Over the course of time you will only need to check your breasts once a month, but you can do it more often if it makes you feel more comfortable.

In general, your health insurance offers a free breast screening program for all women between 50-70 years of age, which is the most common age range in which to get breast cancer. You can get a free mammogram every 1 to 2 years if you're over age 40. During 2004-2006, a total of 147,430 late-stage breast cancer cases (rate: 108.5 cases per 100,000 women) were diagnosed in women aged ≥50 years in the United States.

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