Women's Health


BREAST AND OVARIAN CANCER AWARENESS – HOW TO STAY PROACTIVE

Dr. Sadeghi and your Aesthetic & Reconstructive Breast Center surgeons urge you to be vigilant about your health.

BREAST CANCER SCREENING GUIDELINES

  • Be familiar with how your breasts usually look and feel, and tell your physician immediately if you notice any changes
  • Perform regular breast self-exams
  • Women in their 20s and 30s should schedule a yearly clinical breast exam (CBE) every three years; when you turn 40, schedule these exams yearly
  • Women 40 and older should schedule a yearly mammogram

HOW TO PERFORM A BREAST SELF-EXAM

In the Shower – Keeping your fingers flat, run your hand gently over all areas of both breasts. You’re looking for lumps, knots, or thickening. Use the right hand to examine the left breast, and vice-versa.

In Front of a Mirror – Leave your arms at your sides and examine your breasts. Know that most women’s left and right breasts rarely match; you’re not looking for a size discrepancy.

Raise your arms over your head, and look for changes in each breast’s contour (for example, dimpling or swelling) and changes in the appearance of the nipple. Finally, place your hands on your hips and press down; this will help you flex your chest muscles. Continue examining for any changes.

Lying Down – Lie down with a pillow under your right shoulder. Place your right arm behind your head, and use your left hand, fingers flat, to press gently on your breast. Vary between light, moderate and firm pressure. Move in small, circular motions, either vertically or in a circle that expands to cover the whole breast.

Squeeze each nipple, checking for lumps or discharge. Move the pillow, and repeat with your other breast.

DIGITAL MAMMOGRAPHY

What is a mammogram?

Women age 40 and older should schedule a yearly mammogram — this painless X-ray breast exam can reveal changes in the breast tissue that may indicate precancer or cancer. The mammographic image is displayed on a hi-res computer monitor for your doctor’s examination, and will be stored with your medical records.

Because neither saline nor silicone implants appear transparent on X-rays, breast implants can impede accurate mammogram readings. If you have breast implants, your radiologist may carefully compress the implant to improve the visibility of breast tissue under or behind the implant.

Digital mammography vs. screen-film mammography

Both digital mammography and screen-film mammography rely on compression and X-ray technology to offer a clear image of the interior of each breast. Both exams involve the technician positioning the patient, and holding a paddle to the breast(s) to achieve a high-quality image.

Mammography produces very low levels of radiation, making it a safe procedure for almost every woman.

Aesthetic & Reconstructive Breast Center recommends digital mammography because it involves no wait time between imaging and development of the images on-screen.

Benefits of Mammography

  • Regular mammograms increase the likelihood of small cancer tumors being found early, while full recovery is still well within reach
  • Mammography can also reveal small, abnormal growths in the breast’s milk ducts, known as ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). When removed promptly, these early tumors do not harm patients — and mammography is the only method proven to be able to reliably reveal these tumors
  • Mammograms leave no trace of radiation in your body

EARLY SIGNS OF OVARIAN CANCER

How to Detect Ovarian Cancer

Because ovarian cancer shares symptoms with other, more common conditions of the bladder and digestive system, it can be tricky to detect. Generally, symptoms of ovarian cancer will persist and get worse over time.

Indications of ovarian cancer can include:

  • Pressure, fullness, swelling or bloating of the abdomen
  • Pain or discomfort in the pelvis
  • Lower back pain
  • Constant, repetitive indigestion, nausea or gas
  • Change in bathroom habits, such as incontinence, frequent urination or constipation
  • Low appetite, or easily feeling full
  • Fatigue

Should I see a doctor?

If at any time, you are worried about any of the above symptoms, make an appointment with your physician.

Make it a point to talk with your family about any history of ovarian or breast cancer, as you may need to speak with a genetic counselor about testing for gene mutations that increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancers.

Why should I get a Pap test?

This lifesaving test detects the earliest signs of cervical cancer, which, when caught early, has an excellent survival rate. Pap tests also pinpoint infections that may worsen without treatment.

The advent of the Pap test has led to a huge decline in the number of women being diagnosed with, and dying from, cervical cancer. It’s the most important thing you can do to prevent cervical cancer — and it only takes a few minutes.

Does every woman need regular Pap tests?

Yes. A Pap test, accompanied by a pelvic exam, is part of routine health care. Once a woman becomes sexually active, she should begin yearly Pap tests.

Even if you are going through or have gone through menopause, you still need to schedule a regular Pap test! If you’re 65 or older, you can talk to your doctor about the possibility of stopping Pap tests after a minimum of three normal tests and 10 years without abnormal results.

How often should I get a Pap test?

Every woman is different, so you should speak with your doctor about what’s best to keep you healthy. Many women can follow these guidelines:

  • Starting at age 21, schedule a Pap test every one to two years
  • Women 30 and older who have had three normal Paps in a row within three years may potentially move to a three-year Pap schedule
  • Women 65 and older can talk to their doctor about whether they should stop getting Pap tests

Consultation Request

To receive a consultation, request your appointment online and schedule your visit during one of the select times our surgeons have set aside exclusively for Web visitors.

Travel

Travel

Many of our patients fly in from all over the world. We have perfected the “fly-in patient” protocol, making it virtually possible for all prospective patients. Fly in alone or with loved ones, and we will walk you through a process that will ensure complete care and a comfortable, pleasant experience.