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Community Advocacy Organization

Do You Know How to Perform a Breast Self-Exam?

via Medical News Today

A woman should have an annual mammogram once she turns 45. However, younger women are encouraged to perform a breast self-exam once every month to maintain breast health and look for any abnormalities.

“Self-breast-exams are important, but so is breast awareness,” said Sarah Barber, RN, breast oncology nurse navigator at McLaren Greater Lansing. “It’s important that women are familiar with what their breasts look like and feel like, so they are in tune with any changes that may indicate a problem.” How to perform a breast self-exam: 1. Face a mirror with shoulders straight and arms on hips. Look for changes in size, shape, or color as well as changes to the skin or nipple. 2. Repeat with arms raised. 3. Lie down on a flat surface. Use your right hand to feel your left breast. Using the pads of your fingers, go in a circular motion around an area about the size of a quarter. Start at the nipple and cover your entire breast. 4. Repeat using your left hand to check your right breast. 5. Repeat while sitting or standing. You might find it easier to do this part in the shower. What if I find something? “If you are concerned with something you felt during your breast self-exam, visit your primary care doctor,” said Barber. You should talk to your doctor if you notice any changes such as:

  • The look, feel, and size of the breast

  • The look and feel of the nipple

  • Redness, warmth, pain, or swelling

  • Discharge

  • Lump or a thick spot in the breast tissue

  • Itching, sores, or rashes

  • Dimples, bulges, or ridges on the skin

  • Changes to the nipple pulling inward instead of sticking out

Your doctor may schedule a mammogram for further testing.

How can I learn more?

Being “breast-aware” by performing breast self-exams may lead to early detection of breast cancer. It’s important to talk with your doctor about your overall health, including family history.

For a list of primary care providers accepting new patients, click here.

Greater Lansing has three convenient locations that offer comprehensive breast care and mammography services. To learn more, or to schedule a mammogram, click here. ABOUT MCLAREN GREATER LANSING

McLaren Greater Lansing, is a tertiary teaching facility with 240 acute care beds, located in Lansing, Michigan on the southern edge of the Michigan State University campus. McLaren Greater Lansing moved to the new hospital building located at the new healthcare campus in Spring 2022. Among its services are a Level III Trauma Center/Emergency Department, Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Institute, comprehensive cardiac programs, medical/surgical units, and state-of-the-art women and children’s health services including a modern birthing center. Also located at the healthcare campus is the Karmanos Cancer Institute at McLaren Greater Lansing and Outpatient Care Center. Residency programs are affiliated with Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, and the Statewide Campus System. Residencies include family medicine, internal medicine, orthopedic surgery, general surgery, anesthesiology, and obstetrics/gynecology. Fellowships are offered in cardiology, hematology/oncology, gastroenterology, and pulmonary critical care. McLaren Greater Lansing also participates in a city wide residency programs in emergency medicine, neurology, urology, psychiatry, and physical and rehabilitation medicine.

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