Testing for Breast Cancer

Written by Katelyn Schwanke (last updated September 5, 2008)

Personal and physician regulated breast cancer testing should be done on a regular basis. There are two major ways to test for breast cancer, mammograms and self breast exams.

A mammogram is like an x-ray in its use of low dose ionizing radiation which allows for images of the breast tissue to be projected in picture form for analyzing. During the procedure, a doctor will gently compress your breast to even out the tissue in order to more clearly analyze the tissue; the doctor will taken images from all angles to ensure a thorough and effective examination. You should be careful not to apply deodorant or lotion the day or your examination to avoid any spots appearing on the x-ray. It is recommended that you have an examination done at least once a year and up to five times a year.

Mammograms should be supplemented by self breast examinations. Each month women of all ages, age 20 up, should do a self breast examination. Self breast examinations are easy and can be done following the "7 P rule":

  • position ( stand in front of a mirror)
  • perimeter (feel entire breast)
  • palpate (feel for lumps or masses)
  • pressure (palpate with increasing levels of pressure)
  • pattern (use a pattern for consistency in order to avoid missing an area of the breast)
  • practice (become aware of how health tissue feels)
  • plan (understand the process of what to do if you do find a mass or lump)
  • If you do notice a lump or change in tissue your doctor will want to confirm your findings by doing a mammogram prior to proceeding with treatment. Out of a thousand women about 70 will be called back for potentially positive results, however only two percent of those women will have breast cancer.
  • Author Bio

    Katelyn Schwanke


    What is Juvenile Diabetes?

    With so many different types of diabetes it is hard to distinguish among them which ones are which; if you have a child ...

    Discover More

    Signs of Prostate Cancer

    It is important for men to recognize early signs of prostate cancer. If prostate cancer is caught in its early stages, ...

    Discover More

    Top Five Complications during Pregnancy

    Many women experience anxiety during pregnancy because of the variety of risks and complications that present themselves. ...

    Discover More
    More Health Tips

    Breast Cancer Treatments

    If you or someone you know has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, there are a variety of very successful ...

    Discover More

    Reducing the Risk of Breast Cancer

    Is there really any single phrase that is scarier to a woman than, "You have breast cancer?" While there really is not ...

    Discover More

    If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

    What is one more than 9?

    There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)