The Importance of Not Skipping Your Breast Exams

Jul 11, 2023
The Importance of Not Skipping Your Breast Exams
Breast exams are an important tool for early breast cancer detection. Find out what makes breast exams so vital for women’s health.

Breast exams are an important part of breast cancer screening in particular and preventive health care for women overall. These exams can detect lumps or other abnormalities that might require some more diagnostic testing. 

Your medical professional can perform breast exams at your annual wellness visits, but you can also do them on your own. Either way, it’s important to detect breast cancer in its earliest stages. The American Cancer Society points to a five-year relative survival rate of 99% when it hasn’t spread beyond the breast.

At Primrose Women’s Health in Dayton, Ohio, Carrie Cogley, APRN, and the rest of our team offer wellness visits and breast exams for the benefit of your health. Take a moment as we explore more information about breast exams, why they’re so important, and what to expect during one of them.

How often do I need a breast exam?

Clinical breast exams, which are those Carrie performs in the office, and breast self-exams are equally important for breast cancer screening. 

You should get clinical breast exams each year, while your own breast self-exams should be done once a month. Mount Sinai in New York City recommends that women do their own exams at about the same time every month, particularly 3-5 days after your period begins. Your breasts won’t be as lumpy or tender then.

The goal of both of these types of exams is to detect any changes or abnormalities in your breasts such as a lump. Medical professionals are trained to find these signs of breast cancer. However, you know yourself best, so you’re likely to note changes in your breasts during your own exams.

What happens during a breast exam?

During a clinical breast exam, Carrie discusses your health history and any risk factors you have for breast cancer. You can also go over things you can do on your own to lower your risk for developing breast cancer. 

Afterward, Carrie manually examines your breasts. She looks at both of your breasts to see the shape, size, and texture of your skin and looks for any rashes or dimpling. 

You may be asked to raise your arms above your head, let your arms hang, or press your hands to your hips. All of these positions give Carrie the ability to see any differences between your breasts.

When you do a breast exam on your own, you want to look and feel for anything that seems different about your breasts. If you notice any abnormalities, it’s important to let us know right away so we can get you in for further testing.

If it’s been a while since your last breast exam, don’t wait to schedule your next one with us. Give us a call at 937-345-0009 or schedule an appointment using our booking tool today.