Breast cancer screening is the way to detect breast cancer before the occurrence of symptoms.
However, a healthcare provider should discuss the benefits and risks of screening before starting the breast cancer screening to make it informed and share a decisive process.
Here it is necessary to mention that breast cancer screening can detect cancer at an early stage, but it is not a preventive measure.
Breast cancer screening recommendations
Experts suggested that 50 to 74 years old women have an average risk of breast cancer.
But women between 40 to 49 years of age should discuss with healthcare experts about commencing and frequency of performing mammograms.
A mammogram is a breast X-ray that can find breast cancer early when it is easier to treat or before it big enough to cause the symptom.
Periodic performing mammograms can lower the mortality risk from breast cancer.
Presently, a mammogram is the best technique to detect breast cancer at a very early stage.
Breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Magnets and radio waves pass through MRI into the breast to obtain images.
Breast MRI is recommended along with a mammogram for women with a high risk of developing MRI.
The abnormal findings of MRI may give even the absence of breast cancer.
Therefore, breast MRI is not recommended for women with average risk.
- Other identification tests
- Clinical Breast Exam
Healthcare experts like doctors or nurses physically examine the breast for palpable changes like lumps or other changes.
Women can also self-examine the changes in the breast by feeling pain for noticing a lump or changes in size.
Any noticeable change requires medical attention to detect breast cancer at a very early stage.
Following are some symptoms that need a medical check-up for breast cancer.
- Mass or lump formation that is palpable
- Breast or nipple size or shape change
- Nipple or breast color change
- Inverted nipple
- Discharge from nipple
- Breast swelling and thickening
- Consistent pain
- Dimple of the skin
- Breast skin flakiness or irritation
- Benefits and Risks of Screening
Periodic breast screening tests’ benefit is to identify cancer at a very early stage.
But false-positive test results often give expensive and time-consuming results by repeating and ordering multiple tests.
These cause financial and emotional stress.
However, false-negative test results and its consequences cannot be avoided.