1. Know your body. Breast self-exams are one of the easiest ways to practice preventative care. If you’re 20 or older, you should make breast self-exams part of your monthly routine, and contact your health care provider if you see or feel:
- A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm area
- A change in the size or shape of the breast
- A change in the color or feel of the skin of the breast, areola or nipple
- Nipple discharge, erosion, inversion or tenderness
2. Schedule screenings. Self-exams are helpful, but if you’re between 20 and 39, you should schedule a clinical breast exam with your health care provider every three years. After 40, you should have one every year.
3. Rely on imaging. Mammography is the most effective detection method because it can spot problems before warning signs occur. Have a conversation with your health professional about when and how often to get mammograms.