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By taking an active role in screening for breast cancer you can increase YOUR chances for a healthier future. There are three basic screening methods to monitor your breast health: A breast self examination (BSE) is important to do monthly because it lets you know what is normal for you, and detects abnormalities early. It has three components: (1) manual examination in the shower, (2) visual examination in the mirror, and (3) manual examination while lying flat.
The clinical breast examination (CBE) is when a health care provider such as a nurse or physician manually and visually examines your breasts and lymph nodes to detect any abnormalities. It should be performed yearly, or as soon as you detect a lump during a BSE.
A mammogram is an imaging technique, or X- ray, used for diagnostic purposes. It is the single best method available for detection of breast cancer, and should be used in conjunction with the BSE and CBE. In Ontario, mammograms are recommended for women over the age of 50 years and for special populations of women (www.cancercare.on.ca/obsp/english.htm).
RISK FACTORS OF BREAST CANCER
There are a number of factors that may increase a woman’s chance of developing breast cancer:
EARLY WARNING SIGNS OF BREAST CANCER
Early warning signs of breast cancer that should be immediately reported to a health care provider include:
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