Benign Breast Disease: Part 1
While Breast Cancer Awareness Month is five months away still, we try to educate and spread awareness as much as we can all year round. Today, we are going to be talking about self-breast examinations and everything you need to know about them!
Hello warriors, readers, patients, and friends! We are so glad you're joining us today for our first blog of May! It is a new season, a new spring, a new time in Charleston, and all of it comes with a new sense of hope and strength within it. We hope each of you reading this today feels that feeling with us, and we hope you know that no matter where you are in your journey, we are here to help and support you. First and foremost, we are here to help empower our amazing patients and to help them through their diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship. This will never be a path you walk alone. We also offer many specialized services right here in our Charleston offices including abnormal breast imaging, family history and genetic testing, oncoplastic surgery, scar revision, body contouring, facial rejuvenation, laser hair removal, lactation, and much more. If you're looking for the premier breast specialists in Charleston, SC, you've found us!
While Breast Cancer Awareness Month is still officially five months away, we try to honor it every day by spreading awareness, talking about the realities of breast cancer for women of all ages, and trying to use every opportunity we can to educate everyone we meet. Today, in honor of this idea, we are going to be talking about self-breast exams; what they are, the best way to go about giving yourself the best exam, and some common myths you might not know! For those new to The Breast Place, welcome! We are here to support you and your breasts at every stage of your life. We've mentioned this in past blogs, but self-breast exams can be one of the most successful first steps in preventing cancer and catching it in its early stages. Self-breast exams are important for women throughout their lives but can be extremely beneficial for younger women with very thick breast tissue. Having thick breast tissue can make it almost impossible for a mammogram to work on women younger than 40. In many situations, self-breast exams can be one of the only ways that cancer can be caught in women younger than 40, and can be an amazing lifesaver. At The Breast Place, we perform clinical breast exams, family history risk assessment, breast ultrasounds, biopsies including fine needle aspirations, and needle core biopsies in the office. However, sometimes your overall experience and reason why you find us at The Breast Palace can begin with a self-breast examination. Today, we will be focusing on self-breast exams so you can successfully carry out this life-saving procedure on yourself!
What Is A Self Breast Exam?
As it is stated in its name, a self-breast exam is an at-home self-inspection of your beasts to see if there are any changes or abnormalities that have appeared within your breasts. The best way to do a fully successful breast exam is to use both your eyes and hands to determine if there are any changes to the overall feel and look of your breasts. If you do see any changes, it is best to speak to your doctor right away. Please note that, according to the Mayo Clinic, that almost all changes found during a self-breast exam for your breasts appear due to benign causes. However, this never means that you should ignore any changes that might appear. It means you still need to share this information with your doctor and have them determine what should happen next. It is still possible that some changes may mean something serious, like breast cancer.
Why Should I Give Myself Self Breast Exams?
While breast cancer to this day is still considered something that is only found in women who have gone through menopause, we need to break that stigma! Giving yourself self-breast exams and understanding their importance can help with this! A self-exam or even just examining your breasts on your own can be a huge help with discovering cancer early. This can mean that if cancer is caught and treated earlier, it is more likely to be treated successfully! When self-exams are paired with regular physical exams, they can help make a huge impact on your life and safety. Also remember that giving yourself a breast exam costs you nothing but a little time, and that time is well worth spending on yourself!
How Do I Give Myself A Self Breast Examination?
Now that you know a little bit more about self-breast exams and why they are so important, it's time to understand how best to go about giving yourself a breast exam. This way they can be as efficient, effective, and successful as possible.
What To Expect From A Self Breast Exam
While reading about how to give yourself a self-breast exam may teach you how to do it, that doesn't mean you know exactly what to expect or what it might feel like. Here are a few more extra tips and pieces of insight that might make the whole process a little easier and help prepare you a little more.
Myths About Self Breast Exams & More
Just like we've debunked many different things on our blogs before, there are myths about self-breast exams and other related topics that need to be debunked too. The list below is full of myths to avoid and not worry about while going through your life and caring for your breasts. However, if you do have any questions or concerns even after reading this list and the whole blog, please do not hesitate to reach out and speak with us!
Warriors, fight your battles and be strong while doing so. You have the tools now to begin the battle and to keep yourself as prepared and ahead of the diagnosis as possible. Your health is in your hands, quite literally. Please take the time to dedicate a self-breast exam to your schedule every month. In the long run, it might be the biggest key in catching the first sign or stages of cancer that could appear in your body! Until next time, stay safe and be well out there. We understand life is challenging. We are here to listen, support, treat, and help make life a little easier.
We offer many different kinds of breast imaging services at the Breast Place to help determine the health of your breasts anytime you come into our offices. Unsure of what the whole process is and if you'll need to experience one in the future? That is what we will be talking about today!
Welcome back, readers and warriors! We are so happy you have joined us today! With this beautiful spring weather that is starting to stick around here in the Lowcountry, we hope that you've had a chance to get outside and enjoy it! Keep staying safe and protected, and remember that allergy and flu season is still here. Please be conscious of all of your choices to help continue staying happy and safe. Our last blog was dedicated to mammograms and what to expect from the whole experience. Today, we are going to go a bit deeper and focus on the next step, all of the different kinds of breast imaging that are offered and what is offered at the Breast Place.
There are multiple ways to visualize the tissue within the breast and as technology changes, recommendations for screenings change every year. If you require breast imaging services, contact us for a consultation and recommendations for what kind of imaging we believe you need. Like we discussed in our last blog, mammography uses x-rays to look at calcification within the breast tissue. The newest technology is 3D mammography, also known as tomography. This imaging is recommended yearly for preventative health. Screening mammography is typically paid for by insurance under preventative services if the covered person falls within the contracted age range, but only once per year. Diagnostic mammography is used when there is a known problem within the breast. While we don't do mammography on-site, we work with almost all facilities in the area to order, schedule, and follow up on mammograms for our patients! If you would like to learn more about mammograms, please visit our last blog at:
The whole procedure requires very little preparation on the end of the patient. Please leave any jewelry at home, and we recommend that you wear comfortable clothing for the exam. Just like a mammogram, you will be asked to undress from the waist up and wear a gown for the procedure. During the procedure, a device called a transducer is moved over your breast, and it sends out sound waves that bounce off your breast tissue. These sound waves are at too high of a frequency for you to hear during the exam. The waves that bounce back are picked up by the transducer and create a picture of the inside of your breast. Another device called a Doppler Probe can also be used during this process. This probe will let your doctor hear the sound waves that are sent out through the breast, and they will hear how fast your blood is flowing through the blood vessels in your breasts. Faint sound or no sound at all might mean that you have a blockage in the blood flow through your breast, and could require more tests to find out why this is happening.
There is more to caring for your breasts than just getting a yearly mammogram or giving yourself a monthly self-breast exam. All of us at the Breast Place want to make sure you know the extent that goes into caring for your breasts at all points in your life and what to expect once you begin getting mammograms. This knowledge can prepare you for the overall experience, what it can feel like, and what your results may or may not lead to. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to us or schedule a consultation! We are here for you, warriors! Let's keep fighting together one day at a time!