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Why are breast exams important?

Breast exams improve the chances of finding breast cancer early. And the earlier breast cancer is found, the easier it is to treat.

Dr. Mussenden can tell whether your breasts look and feel healthy. During a breast exam, she will feel for lumps and other problems, and can recommend more tests if there’s anything unusual.

When should I get a breast exam?

Most women should get a breast exam every 1 to 3 years in their 20s and 30s, then once a year after turning 40. They’re usually done as part of well-woman visits.

Talk to your doctor if you’ve had breast or ovarian cancer before, or if someone related to you has had breast or ovarian cancer, you may need to have more frequent breast cancer screenings.

How is a breast exam done?

During a breast exam, Dr. Mussenden will check your breasts for any possible signs of breast cancer or other breast problems. She will also talk with you about your risks for breast cancer and what you can do to help prevent it.

You’ll take your shirt and bra off. Dr. Mussenden will look at both of your breasts to see the shape, size, and texture of your skin. She'll feel your breasts with the tips of her fingers to check if there are any lumps or if something else doesn’t feel normal. She will start with one breast and then do the other, including both nipples, and also check your armpits.

Should I do breast self-exams?

A self-exam is a specific way of feeling your breasts for any changes. Regular checks for abnormalities in the breasts is a great way to stay ahead of potential issues with the breasts.

The key is knowing what’s normal for your breasts so you’ll notice any changes in how they look or feel.

What if I find a lump in my breast?

If you find a lump or another change in your breast, call our office. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have cancer — there are lots of other things, like cysts or infections, that can cause lumps or other changes. But it’s really important to get checked out just in case. Dr. Mussenden can do a breast exam or a mammogram to see if there’s something wrong.

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