Understanding Breast Self-Examination and the Diagnosis and Treatment of Breast Conditions
Breast health is an important part of a woman’s total well being. It is important for a woman to know her breasts so she can tell when there is a change. Often, a change signals that there is a problem. Finding changes early and treating problems early can lessen the degree of the treatment and improve the chances for a successful outcome.
One problem that can arise is breast cancer. Breast cancer is hard to ignore. One out of eight women will develop breast cancer during her lifetime. Most women who develop breast cancer have no family history of the disease. As women get older, their chances of developing breast cancer increase. Even though breast cancer is more common in older women, it also occurs in younger women and even a small number of men.
Education is the first step in the war against breast cancer. This section contains information about breast cancer and the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of this condition. Please use this resource and share it with other women and their families.
The actual cause of breast cancer is still unknown. Early detection remains every woman’s best protection against this disease. Most breast lumps (eight out of 10) are, in fact, noncancerous. Today, 90 percent of cancers that are diagnosed at an early stage are cured!
Because early detection increases the chance for successful treatment, it is very important that you practice a monthly breast self-examination. Additionally, it is vital that women age 40 and older participate in an annual breast cancer screening mammography program.
This section outlines breast cancer screening guidelines, provides instructions for monthly breast self-exam, and explains diagnostic terms and treatment options. You will learn how to do a breast self-examination (BSE), become familiar with what to look for, and learn when to seek advice from your doctor. You will also learn about the latest methods of diagnosis and treatment for breast disease and become familiar with the many non-cancerous conditions that can cause a breast lump.
If you have any additional questions, we encourage you to contact your doctor. To ensure that you remember your questions when you speak with your doctor, write them down. We hope this information will provide you with confidence and greater control over your health.
Joanne Barbour-Walker, MD
Saint Joseph Mercy Breast Care
Rossanna DeGrood, MD
Women’s Health Services
Saint Joseph Mercy Health System