Breast-detection - The keys to early detection

September 26, 1997


The keys to early detection

Screening, looking for cancer in women who have no symptoms of the disease, is the key to early detection of breast cancer, according to National Cancer Institute. A regularly scheduled mammogram - an X-ray of the breast - coupled with clinical breast examination by a doctor or nurse - is the best available tool.

American Cancer Society recommends a screening mammogram and a clinical breast exam every year beginning at age 40.

Breast self-exam

Breast self-examination, done at the same time each month, also is receommended.


With arms at your sides, then raised above your head, look carefully for changes in the size, shape and contour of each breast. Look for puckerintg, dimpling or changes in skin texture while standing straight and bending forward.


Gently squeeze both nipples and look for discharge.


As you do this part of the examination, remember that some lumpiness is normal for many women. Self-examination helps you become familiar with the normal texture of your breast tissue.

In the shower: Raise one arm. With fingers flat, touch every part of each breast, gently feeling for a lump or thickening. Use your right hand to examine your left breast, your left hand for your right breast.

Lying down: Place a towel or pillow under your right shoulder and your right hand behind your head. Examine your right breast with your left hand.

Fingers flat, press gently in small circles, starting at the outermost top edge of your breast and spiraling down toward the nipple. Examine every part of the breast. Repeat with left breast.

With your arm resting on a firm surface, use the same circular motion to examine the underarm area. This is breast tissue, too.

* For information about breast cancer, call

* American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345

* Cancer Information Service, the voice of National Cancer Institute, at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237).

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