Sponsored by: Roper St. Francis Healthcare
It’s imperative for women to make sure they’re maintaining good breast health. While women can’t control their genetics or a family history of breast cancer, what they CAN control is seeking proper medical treatment and screenings. If you are age 40 or older, you should be seeing a healthcare provider for routine screening mammograms, says Dr. Susanne Bradford, an OB/GYN with Roper St. Francis Physician Partners. “Mammograms obviously won’t prevent breast cancer, but they can help us catch it earlier,” Dr. Bradford says.
She also reminds patients that self-examinations are important because mammograms will never be 100% accurate. “I counsel my patients that while a negative mammogram is reassuring, they must continue to do breast surveillance.” The good news, though, is much has improved over the years thanks to increased funding and research. “As devastating as a diagnosis is,” Dr. Bradford says, “mammogram technology and medical treatments for breast cancer have come a long way.”
Women of all ages should give themselves regular breasts self-exams to monitor any changes. If you discover any of the following symptoms, Dr. Bradford advises you to see a doctor for a breast screening.
1. You see skin changes in your breasts
If you notice any retractions, dimpling, or puckering, that typically indicates an abnormality and your doctor should take a look.
2. You experience abnormal nipple discharge
Nipple discharge can mean many things, but it’s always a good idea to get it checked out by a doctor, Dr. Bradford says. This does not apply to women who are lactating.
3. You spot masses or lumps
If you're giving yourself regular exams, you'll notice when you feel something abnormal. Upon examination, if you notice any new or dominant palpable masses, you'll want a doctor to take a look.
4. You’re experiencing abnormal breast pain
“This one can be a little less clear,” Dr. Bradford says, “because we do have muscles under our breasts, and if we’ve just started a new workout regimen, our breasts will hurt.” And women often experience breast pain or tenderness related to menstruation. But most of the time, Dr. Bradford says, you’ll know if the pain seems abnormal or unexplainable, and in that case, it’s wise to make a doctor’s appointment.
As the Lowcountry leader in adult healthcare, Roper St. Francis can take care of all of your women’s health needs. To learn more about all the healthcare services available or to schedule an appointment, call (843) 402-CARE or visit online.