Early detection of breast cancer can lead to greater likelihood of cure. The American Cancer Society recommends the following guidelines for the detection of breast cancer in women who are asymptomatic (show no symptoms of breast cancer):
- Women 20 years of age and older should be told about the benefits and limitations of breast self-exams (BSE). Women should be aware of how their breasts normally feel and report any new breast change to a health professional as soon as they are found. [Note: while the American Cancer Society recently amended its guidelines and no longer recommends monthly BSE, many healthcare professionals believe strongly in this method of screening for breast cancer and continue to recommend BSE on a monthly basis].
- Women 20-39 should have a physical examination of the breast (CBE or clinical breast exam) at least every three years, performed by health care professional such as a physician, physician assistant, nurse or nurse practitioner. CBE may often be received in the same appointment as a Pap smear. Women 20-39 should also perform monthly BSE.
- Women 40 and older should have a physical examination of the breast (CBE or clinical breast exam) every year, performed by a health care professional, such as a physician, physician assistant, nurse or nurse practitioner. CBE can often be performed in the same visit as a mammogram. Monthly BSE should also be performed.
- Women 40 years of age should receive a screening mammogram every year. The National Cancer Institute recommends mammography every one to two years for women between 40-50 years of age. Beginning at age 50, screening mammography should be performed every year.
(“Breast Cancer Screening/Prevention”. Imaginis. <http://www.imaginis.com>)
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