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If you find a lump in your breast, here are what to look for and how to take the next steps.

Mammograms are the gold standard for breast cancer screening and detection, but self-breast exams are a key step to starting the conversation with your doctor.

Like many cancers, early detection and treatment are vital.

Signs it Might be Breast Cancer

So how do you know when to be concerned? Talk to your care provider immediately if you notice:

  • a lump, hard knot, or thickening inside the breast or underarm area
  • swelling, warmth, redness or darkening of the breast
  • change in the size or shape of the breast
  • dimpling or puckering of the skin
  • itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
  • pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast
  • nipple discharge that starts suddenly
  • or new pain in one spot that doesn’t go away.

Don’t wait until you have a concern to make your appointment! It is important to see your gynecologist or primary care physician yearly to identify and discuss risk factors for breast cancer and to talk about changes in her overall health.

Read Cynthia's Story of Discovering she had Breast Cancer.

The Two Types of Mammograms

Screening mammogram

This is your yearly mammogram for those who do not have a breast problem. Four standard views are obtained, and the images are interpreted by the radiologist after you have left the facility. The American College of Radiology recommends annual screening mammograms beginning at age 40.

Diagnostic mammogram

This is for women who have found a lump or have another problem such as pain, a history of breast cancer, or who have been recalled to evaluate a finding on a screening mammogram. The results of a diagnostic mammogram are reviewed right away by a radiologist. In some cases, more images or a breast ultrasound are completed at that time.

3D mammography improves Beebe’s radiologists’ ability to see abnormalities in dense breast tissue and reduces the number of return visits. If your physician recommends a mammogram, Beebe offers advanced 3D mammography at its Diagnostic Imaging centers in Millville, Georgetown, and Rehoboth Beach.

Beebe Oncology Services.

Download a Screening Guide.

Contact Kathy Cook, Breast Health Nurse Navigator