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Breast Self-Examination

Women detect most lumps in their breasts themselves by performing breast self-exams (BSE). Performing regular self-exams will familiarize you with how your breasts feel normally so you will be able to more easily recognize change.

Breast MRI

Sometimes women with a higher risk of developing breast cancer may benefit from more intensive screening. Examples of higher risk would include women who carry a strong genetic predisposition to breast cancer, such as carriers of a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation, or woman with dense breasts (making mammography difficult) who have a first degree relative with breast cancer. Breast MRI may be offered to such women in addition to annual mammography to decrease the risk of interval breast cancers.

Breast MRI is a very sensitive imaging study and may further help to find cancer at the earliest, most curable stages in these high risk women. Because its findings are less specific, breast MRI may find lesions defined as potentially suspicious, but which prove to be benign. Therefore, it is not a screening devise for the “average risk” woman in the general population.

Mammograms

After heart disease and lung cancer, breast cancer kills more women than any other disease. This year, it will claim about 40,000 lives. The key to surviving breast cancer is early detection and the only way to ensure early detection is to see a doctor regularly, and follow guidelines established by the American Cancer Society and National Cancer Institute for mammography screening.

Gynecologic Cancer Screening

Having regular Pap tests is the best way to monitor cervical health. Many women will experience an “abnormal” Pap test during their lifetime, which can be caused by infection with HPV (human papilloma virus). This infection can lead to cervical dysplasia, a potentially precancerous condition in which abnormal cells grow on the cervix. These women may need an additional Pap test, a test for HPV or a more detailed test called a colposcopy.

Colon Cancer Screening

Screenings can detect colorectal cancer when it can be treated. For individuals at normal risk, screening tests should begin at age 50. The preferred approach is a screening colonoscopy conducted every 10 years.