6 Common Breast Cancer Questions Answered by Baptist

Oct 11 • 2016

Whether you’re coping with a breast cancer diagnosis personally, know a loved one who is, or are concerned about your risk, you likely have a lot of questions. Being educated about breast cancer can help you make the most informed choices possible when it comes to prevention, treatment and recovery. To help keep you informed, we’ve answered some of the most commonly asked questions about breast cancer below:

How often should I get a mammogram?

Once a woman turns 40, she should begin scheduling annual mammogram screenings. If you have a family history of breast cancer, speak with your doctor for personalized recommendations about when you should begin having regular mammograms.

How often should I do a breast self-exam?

Perform a breast self-exam once a month to identify changes in breast tissue, including size, lumps, dimpling, puckering, nipple inversion, redness, scaliness, or discharge. It’s best to perform the exam 7-10 days after starting your menstrual period. If you find a lump, see a doctor immediately.

If no one in my family has a history of breast cancer, am I still at risk?

Yes. Around 70% of women who develop breast cancer do not have a family history of the disease. This is why early detection is so important.

How does my breast density impact my risk for breast cancer?

Breast density impacts how likely a mammogram is to identify warning signs in your breast tissue. Women with higher breast density have a slightly higher risk for developing breast cancer, but the more important factor is noting that it can be much harder to spot. New scanning options, like the ABUS technology at Baptist, can help women with dense breast tissue identify any issues clearly.

Are there any lifestyle factors that increase my risk of breast cancer?

Yes, there are many lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk of developing breast cancer later in life. These include:

  • Eliminating tobacco use
  • Limiting alcohol intake
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Staying physically active
  • Breastfeeding
  • Limiting the amount of hormone therapy
  • Reducing your stress levels

What do I do if I find a lump in my breast?

If you notice any concerning differences in your breast tissue while performing a breast self-exam, make an appointment with your doctor immediately. While not all lumps are cancerous, early detection is key – identifying them right away is extremely important in case treatment is necessary.

If you have additional questions about breast cancer, including your personal risk, speak with your doctor today.

Visit Baptist’s Breast Health Services page for more information, or find a physician by visiting our Find a Doctor page.