What Are the Symptoms?
There are different symptoms of breast cancer, and some people have no symptoms at all. Symptoms can include any change in the size or the shape of the breast, pain in any area of the breast, nipple discharge other than breast milk (including blood), and a new lump in the breast or underarm. If you have any signs that worry you, see your doctor right away. Most women who get breast cancer have no known risk factors and no history of the disease in their families.
What Is Breast Cancer Screening?
Breast cancer screening means checking a woman’s breasts for cancer before there are signs or symptoms of the disease. Although breast cancer screening cannot prevent breast cancer, it can help find breast cancer early, when it is easier to treat. Talk to your doctor about which breast cancer screening tests are right for you, and when you should have them.
Breast Cancer Screening Tests
A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast. Mammograms are the best way to find breast cancer early, when it is easier to treat and before it is big enough to feel or cause symptoms. Having regular mammograms can lower the risk of dying from breast cancer.
Breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
A breast MRI uses magnets and radio waves to take pictures of the breast. MRI is used along with mammograms to screen women who are at high risk for getting breast cancer. Because breast MRIs may appear abnormal even when there is no cancer, it is not used for women at average risk.
Clinical Breast Exam
A clinical breast exam is an examination by a doctor or nurse, who uses his or her hands to feel for lumps or other changes.
Being familiar with how your breasts look and feel can help you notice symptoms such as lumps, pain, or changes in size that may be of concern. These could include changes found during a breast self-exam. You should report any changes that you notice to your doctor or health care provider.
Where Can I Go to Get Screened?
You can get screened for breast cancer at a clinic, hospital, or doctor’s office. If you want to be screened for breast cancer, call your doctor’s office. They can help you schedule an appointment. Most health insurance plans are required to cover mammograms every one to two years for women beginning at age 40 with no out-of-pocket cost (like a co-pay, deductible, or co-insurance).
Fast Facts About Breast Cancer
•Each year in the United States, more than 200,000 women get breast cancer and more than 40,000 women die from the disease.
•Men also get breast cancer, but it is not very common. Less than 1% of breast cancers occur in men.
•Most breast cancers are found in women who are 50 years old or older, but breast cancer also affects younger women. About 10% of all new cases of breast cancer in the United States are found in women younger than 45 years of age.