Breast Cancer Expert Forum
NOT SURE ABOUT SELF BREAST EXAM?
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Questions posted in the Breast Cancer Forum are answered by medical professionals and experts. Topics include Breast Biopsy, Chemotherapy, Hormone Therapy, Lumps, Lumpectomy, Lymph node dissection, Lymphedema, Mammograms, Mastectomy, Radiation Therapy, Reconstruction, Self Breast Exam, and Surgery.

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NOT SURE ABOUT SELF BREAST EXAM?

i AM A 26 YEAR OLD FEMALE. ONE CHILD AT 23. NO HISTORY OF BC ON EITHER SIDE. HAVE HAD NORMAL GYNO. EXAMS FOR 8 YEARS(DOC. HAS NEVER FOUND ANYTHING IN MY BREAST)  THIS TIME LAST YEAR I FOUND WHAT I THOUGHT WAS A LUMP. WENT TO MY GYNO. AND SHE CHECKED ME. SAID IT WAS NORMAL BREAST TISSUE BUT SENT ME FOR AN ULTRA SOUND.  THEY SAID THE SAME.  SINCE THEN I HAVE BEEN TOLD I HAVE SOME FIBROCYSTIC DISEASE. WHEN I DO MY BREAST EXAMS( WHICH SEEMS LIKE ALL THE TIME, CAUSE I AM WORRIED I AM GOING TO MISS SOMETHING) I FEEL LIKE I AM NOT SURE IF WHAT I AM FEELING IS LUMPS OR NORMAL TISSUE. IF I CHECK MY BREAST REGULARLY AM I GOING TO NOTICE A DEFFINATE CHANGE OR WILL IT BE TO SUBTLE FOR ME TO NOTICE? IT SEEMS LIKE I AM ALWAYS SAYING AFTER MY EXAM, " I THINK IT WAS ALL NORMAL"  AND THEN I GET SCARED THAT THE SMALL NODULES I KEEP FEELING MAY BE CANCER AND I AM NOT GOING TO NOTICE THE DIFFERENCE.  I KNOW MY DOC'S ARE TIRED OF ME BECAUSE I WORRY ALL THE TIME. MY DOC TOLD ME THAT IF I EVER FOUND A LUMP, BENIGN OR CANCER, I WOULD KNOW IT WAS DIFFERENT. DO YOU AGREE?  ALSO, IF A LUMP IS CANCER, DOES IT ALWAYS GROW. LIKE, WILL YOU BE ABLE TO TELL THAT THE LUMP HAS GOTTEN BIGGER. ANY INFO. WOULD BE APPRECIATED. THANKS
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Avatar_n_tn
Dear ally'smommy,  When doing a self breast exam you are looking for changes.  The recommendation (so you're not driving yourself crazy) is to choose a day, the same time each month, for your self-breast exam.  Choosing the same time each month takes out some of the question of normal changes in the breast that may happen over the month.  Many people who find a lump (cancerous or not) will say there was no question that it was "different than usual", which then would be evaluated.
If there is a change in a lump or increasing pain, you should be evaluated by your doctor.
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Avatar_n_tn
Self breast exam is, like everything else, imperfect. But in general it's true that a pathological lump is different from normal. The best advice is to keep doing self-exam. The best time is a couple of days after your period ends, at which time the breasts are usually most "deflated" and abnormalities stand out more. With time, you'll get a sort of sense of what's usual for you, and when you think you notice something different, it's better to err on the side of getting checked out.
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