Routine care is the best way to keep you and your breasts healthy. Although detecting breast cancer at its earliest stages is the main goal of routine breast care, other benign conditions, such as fibrocystic breasts or cysts, are often discovered during routine care. This is why clinical breast exams are important along with patients having breast "self awareness".
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women in the United States, other than skin cancer. One out of 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer at some point in their lives.
If you are diagnosed with breast cancer, the most important thing for you to remember is that help is available. For many, early detection and modern therapy with a combination of surgery, radiation, drugs, or hormones now offer good weapons to help beat the effects of breast cancer.
At UTMB Health, we provide comprehensive care for breast cancer patients. The patient can meet her surgeon, the medical oncologist, radiation oncologist, and plastic surgeon all at the same location, and often all on the same day.
Frequently asked questions
How often should I go to my doctor for a check-up?
You should have a physical every year which should include a clinical breast exam and pelvic exam. If any unusual symptoms or changes in your breasts occur before your scheduled visit, do not hesitate to see a UTMB Health breast specialist immediately.
Does a family history of breast cancer put someone at a higher risk?
Although women who have a family history of breast cancer are in a higher risk group, most women who have breast cancer have no family history. Statistically only 5-10% of individuals diagnosed with breast cancer have a family history of this disease.
Are mammograms painful?
Mammography does compress the breasts and can sometimes cause slight discomfort for a very brief period of time. Patients who are sensitive should schedule their mammograms a week after their menstrual cycle so that the breasts are less tender. Your doctor may say it is fine to take acetaminophen an hour before the x-ray is performed to prevent discomfort too.
How does menstrual and reproductive history affect breast cancer risks?
Women who began their menstrual cycles before age 12, have no biological children, or had their first child at 30 or older, or began menopause after 55 are at a higher risk. This means that research has proven that the number of menstrual cycles a woman has over time influences risk.