Breast Cancer Awareness Month at CosmetiCare in Newport Beach
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign to raise awareness about the impact of breast cancer. Because the health and safety of our patients are held at the highest level of importance, our Board-Certified plastic surgeons are giving you the best tips and tricks on breast cancer detection.
To further support, CosmetiCare has partnered with United Medical Imaging Healthcare (UMIH) to offer discounted rates from October through December on breast mammograms, MRIs, ultrasounds, and biopsies at all 26 of their convenient locations throughout Los Angeles and Orange County.
We encourage our patients to take advantage of these offers as early breast cancer detection can help to save your or a loved one’s life.
Adult women of all ages are encouraged to perform self-breast exams at least once a month. These exams allow you to get familiar with how your breasts look and feel to detect any abnormalities if you see or feel any changes.
You can give a self-breast exam in three different ways.
- In front of a mirror
- In the shower
- Lying down
Begin by taking the tip pads of your three middle fingers and check the entire breast and armpit area by pressing down with light, medium, and firm pressure. You are checking to see if you notice any lumps, hardness, knots, or other abnormalities. Next, visually look for any changes in the color of the skin or nipples and for any dimpling, swelling, or puckering. It is also important to squeeze the nipple to check for any type of discharge.
If you discover any type of changes in abnormalities, call your doctor and schedule an appointment for further testing, such as a mammogram or MRI.
When to get a mammogram
Women 40 and older should begin receiving mammograms every one to two years unless you have a history of breast cancer in your family. Those with particular risk factors should ask a healthcare professional whether early mammograms are advisable and how often they should have one performed.
A mammogram is an x-ray that allows your doctor to examine your breast tissues for any suspicious areas. Suppose the mammogram comes back with abnormal results. In that case, your doctor will order additional tests such as an MRI, ultrasound, or breast biopsy.
There are different variations of a mammogram, including screening, diagnostic, and 3D used as a first and secondary exam and to screen for further indication.
Mammograms for women with breast implants
If you have breast implants, you should get regularly scheduled mammograms as recommended by your doctor. It is important to let your mammogram technician know that you have implants before your mammogram is performed, that way you will be able to know if that specific facility is familiar with performing mammograms in women with breast implants.
To help your doctor see as much breast tissue as possible, patients with breast implants will have four additional pictures taken (two per breast), in addition to the four standard pictures taken during a mammogram screening. These images, called “implant displacement (ID) views” are easier to take if the implants are located behind the muscle.
To learn more about mammograms for women with breast implants, please click here.
What is an MRI?
Magnetic resonance imaging or “MRI” is performed to further detect breast cancer if your mammogram results have come back as suspicious. The images presented from an MRI allow medical professionals to distinguish normal vs. diseased breast tissues.
What is a breast ultrasound?
When an abnormality is detected in your breast through your self-exam, mammogram, or MRI, your doctor may wish to perform further testing with a breast ultrasound. This ultrasound is a scan that uses penetrating sound waves that a computer uses to detect what is going on inside the breast tissue. This allows your doctor to see more vividly if there are any masses in the tissue and, if so, what is inside the mass.
What is a breast biopsy?
A breast biopsy is a test that removes tissue or fluid from a suspicious area found with prior testing. The removed tissue or fluid is then examined under a microscope to check for the presence of breast cancer. A breast biopsy is the only procedure that can definitively determine whether the suspicious tissues are cancerous.
Breast Cancer Awareness Tips:
To help your body fight the risk of breast cancer, there are many tips you can follow to keep your body healthy.
A nutritious, low-fat diet with plenty of fruits and greens can help reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. High-fat diets can increase the risk considering fat triggers estrogen production that can encourage tumor growth.
Exercise boosts the immune system and helps to keep your body at a healthy weight. By exercising as little as three hours per week, women can lower their risk of developing breast cancer.
Smoking is a real risk for many cancers, including breast. If you are a smoker, there are many ways to help yourself quit, giving you increasingly higher advantages to living a healthier life.
Breast Cancer Awareness Facts:
Breast cancer occurs almost entirely in women; however, men can still be diagnoses with breast cancer. Men are encouraged to follow the same rule of thumb as women with early detection such as self-exams and further testing if any abnormalities are detected.
There are more than 3-million breast cancer survivors in the United States. Early detection is vital, and it dramatically increases cancer survival rates.
Breast cancer cannot be detected, but there are things such as diet and exercise that can help to decrease your risk of developing cancer.
Mammograms are proven to reduce the rate of death from breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Awareness Foundation:
There are many ways to donate or help fight to find a cure for breast cancer. The National Breast Cancer Foundation provides breast health education, early detection services, and a community to help women every step of the way through their breast cancer journey.