Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Breast Cancer Screening

A clinical breast exam is a physical breast examination by a qualified health professional. Periodic clinical examinations may help in early detection of breast cancer.

If you are over 40 years, you should have a clinical breast exam every two years.

If your risk of breast cancer is higher than the average, you will probably undergo screening tests more often or at a younger age (before age 40). Check with your doctor about the best screening program for you.

More information on clinical breast examination
Mammography screening. Screening mammograms are performed in clinics and testing centers.

Mammography is a very low dose radiography of breast tissue. The mammograms provide detailed images of the breast from different angles. The breast is first placed between two plastic plates that are then pressed toward each other to flatten the breast. The procedure may cause some discomfort but it only takes a few seconds. Compression of breast tissue allows for clearer images while minimizing as much as possible the amount of radiation used. Discuss the risks and benefits of mammography with your doctor.

Screening programs for breast cancer vary from one province to another. All provinces have screening programs for women 50 to 69 years. You can make an appointment at one of these testing centers without prior recommendation of a physician.

For women 40 to 49 years, the situation is not as clearly defined. Depending on your province of residence, you may be able to have a mammogram if your doctor or nurse practitioner directs you to the program (after discussing with you the pros and cons of early detection). However, it is also possible that the testing program in your province just can not accept women aged 40 to 49 years in this case, you may need to see your doctor what is the best way to mammography.

Find a center for breast cancer screening near you.

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