Expert panel discusses the basics of breast health

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It’s no secret that prevention is the most important investment we can make for the quality of our health – and it begins with you. A balanced diet, drinking lots of water, being physically active and limiting alcohol consumption are the first steps. Knowing your own body is also vital as you are more likely to discover something that seems unusual. For women, performing regular breast self-exams is one way to detect any changes but having regular mammograms is one of the most important things you can do to reduce your own breast cancer related risks. 

There is debate within the medical community about how often you need a screening (every year or every other year) and at what age you should begin getting your mammograms. This confusion often becomes a reason to delay, which could mean cancer isn’t caught as early as possible.

As an accredited Breast Imaging Center of Excellence through the American College of Radiology, McLaren Port Huron follows the ACR recommendation: 
Women should have annual screening mammograms beginning at the age of 40. 
If your mother or sister had breast cancer at an early age, you should consider yearly mammograms that should begin when you are younger than the age your mother or sister was diagnosed with breast cancer.  

It’s important to talk with your physician — your family history and overall health may be factors to take into consideration when deciding when to schedule your mammogram. 

And if you notice any changes in your breasts, talk with your provider right away. This includes:
any new lumps or bumps in the breast or armpit 
thickening or swelling in part of the breast
irritation or dimpling of the skin on the breast
redness or flaky skin in the nipple area of the breast
pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area
nipple discharge

“Knowing your body and what’s ‘normal’ for you is critical,” says Dr. Kimberley Clark-Paul, a breast surgeon at McLaren Port Huron. “Doing a regular self-breast exam can help keep this top of mind, and if you ever find anything unusual, sharing that information with a provider is important.”  

Knowing the signs and symptoms of breast cancer, talking with your provider and scheduling your annual mammogram are vital components to detecting breast cancer early, when treatment is more likely to be successful. Learning about early detection and the importance of screenings is key.  

That’s why McLaren Port Huron is providing a FREE education program for women, The Basics of Breast Health. Learn about early detection, diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer with breast surgeon Dr. Kimberley Clark-Paul, radiation oncologist Dr. Matthew Johnson and medical oncologist Dr. Anup Lal. This program also includes a testimony from breast cancer survivor and Ma’am Get The ‘Gram founder and CEO, Tiwana Porter. Dinner is included and is provided by Ma’am Get The ‘Gram Corp.

To register for The Basics of Breast Health, visit Eventbrite or call HealthAccess at 1-800-228-1484.