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":
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