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What you need to know about breast exams

According to reports from the Philippine Society of Medical Oncology, the Philippines has the highest incidence of breast cancer in Asia. And in line with the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October, the Department of Health encourages Filipina women to educate themselves on the disease.

“Key to winning the country’s battle against breast cancer is early detection, which can be achieved through routine self-examination and undergoing breast screening in the clinic,” explains Dr. Nicky Montoya, president and CEO of MediCard, a leading Philippine HMO.

Below are important things to know about breast cancer screening.

Know your family history. If you have close relatives who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, you have to be extra vigilant because you are at greater risk to have the disease. The risk is doubled if you have a first-degree relative with breast cancer.

You can and should screen yourself regularly. In front of a mirror, observe the physical condition of your breasts and take note of any irregularity in shape, color, size, such as swelling, discoloration, rashes, puckering, or discharge from the nipples. Then, use your hands to feel your breasts in a circular motion, to check for any lumps.

Be thorough in conducting the self-exam. Breast self-exams are most accurate when done when it is wet, so gynecologists advise on doing it in the shower. You should cover the entire breast, from the side near the armpit all the way to your chest area and below, just where your ribcage begins. Feel your breasts while you are standing, with your arms up, and also while lying down.

Visit a clinic. If you want to be surer about the state of your breasts, and especially if you have family history, visit your gynecologist. At the MediCard Lifestyle Center Breast

Clinic, female breast surgeons who specialize in breast conditions are available to
advise patients. They can screen for lumps using digital mammogram and breast ultrasound, or even conduct biopsy using Mammotome, which enables doctors to collect tissue samples and make highly accurate breast cancer diagnosis without the need for open surgery.

To learn more about breast cancer examination from a medical professional, consult your doctor today, or visit http://www.medicardphils.com.

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