The annual breast exam has become a running joke in many a woman’s social circle, but these dreaded appointments save lives. They’re an incredibly important part of taking care of your health and ensuring cancer is detected as early as possible. This exam is recommended for women starting at around age 40-44. Once a woman reaches 45 she should have a breast exam every year and move to exams every other year once they reach 55.
What is a clinical breast exam?
A clinical breast exam is an exam performed by a physician. Unlike your home breast exam (which should be performed on a monthly basis), the clinical breast exam includes a visual component, as well as a more detailed medical imaging component.
Why are clinical breast exams performed?
A clinical breast exam is performed to look for lumps or changes in the breast that could indicate a problem like breast cancer. These exams can also be used to diagnose problems like mastitis or fibroadenoma.
When should I schedule my breast exam?
Your breast exam, both at home and clinical, should be performed shortly after your menstrual period finished. This is because your breasts are less tender than they are during your period. It also makes it easier to diagnose issues.
For patients that no longer have a period, schedule the appointment on a date that’s easy to remember, like your birthday or wedding anniversary.
What happens during a breast exam?
During your breast exam Dr. Drai will take your health history. He’ll want to know when you started your period, how many children you’ve had, and how old you were when you had your first child. After your history is taken you’ll be asked to undress from the waist up. Your breasts will be inspected for any changes in their shape, size, and symmetry. Often times you’ll be asked to put your hands above your head.
When looking at your breasts the doctor is looking for any dimpling, rashes, or redness that is unexplained. After the visual exam the doctor will have you lay down with your arms behind your head. Using the tips of his finger, the doctor will examine your breasts and feel for lumps.
What’s a mammogram?
A mammogram is a low energy x-ray used to examine the breast and detect breast cancer, as well as masses or microcalcifications. This gives your doctor the opportunity to see past your skin and get an idea of what might be happening below the surface.
What if an issue is discovered?
If the doctor discovers a problem, he will order additional diagnostics to determine whether what’s been found is cancerous or benign. Many times a lump will be discovered and a biopsy performed, only to find it’s benign. Regardless, it’s important that you have every lump checked to make sure it is not cancer or does not morph into cancer over time.
If you’re due for a breast exam, contact our team at Amare Concierge. Dr. Drai and our exceptional team is committed to ensuring every patient is healthy and well taken care of.