Breast self-examination is an important technique to help monitor breast health. Many women first detect a change in their breast when they feel something they have never noticed before. Should this happen to you, call your doctor to schedule a clinical breast exam.
A self-examination of your breasts involves feeling for any irregularities while looking in a mirror to note your breasts' appearance. Once you know what your breasts normally look and feel like, any changes should be checked by your doctor. Only a very small percentage of irregularities turn out to be breast cancer; however, lumps and cancer can occur at any age, with women older than 50 at increased risk. Breast self-examinations should not replace routine clinical breast examinations by a health professional and mammograms if you are older than 40.
An annual mammogram could save your life, and with Holland Hospital's digital mammography, you’re assured the clearest, most detailed mammogram available. The key to early detection is to follow screening guidelines, which for most women means getting an annual mammogram beginning at age 40, according to the American Cancer Society.
The American Cancer Society recommends that certain women who are at high risk for developing breast cancer undergo a more sensitive screening test called magnetic resonance imaging, or breast MRI. Holland Hospital offers breast MRI on its state-of-the-art 3T MRI unit. Breast MRIs are typically scheduled upon a doctor's referral. Ask your physician whether breast MRI is appropriate for you.
Stereotactic and Ultrasound-Guided Biopsy
When a mammogram detects a breast abnormality, a stereotactic or ultrasound guided biopsy may be recommended. This procedure uses special imaging to find the area of the breast where the biopsy samples are to be taken. This technique can check a lump that is seen on mammogram, ultrasound or MRI but cannot be felt on breast examination. A small incision is made and the biopsy is performed by the Radiologist using imaging guidance to the sampling site.