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Breast Health and You

Breast Health and You Questions

Questions And Answers

How do we become familiar with our breasts?

By examining them once a month, a week after menstruation.
If you do not menstruate then examine your breasts once a month on the first of the month. Any new changes in the breast need to be referred to your doctor.
Please do LOOK at your breasts in the mirror. If there are any changes in the skin or any unusual findings, call your doctor. You will do yourself the biggest favor by doing this.
After 40 all women should start annual mammograms. Schedule your mammogram/pap smear etc. around your birthday. Consider this a gift to yourself!

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How do we do a biopsy? Does it Hurt?

A biopsy can be done with a needle using ultrasound to guide us.
I use lots of numbing anesthesia, but at the time of the procedure there is a pinching kind of pain.  So wear a tight fitting bra after the biopsy, it reduces the swelling and pain.

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What do we do after the biopsy?

If the biopsy is not cancer and is benign, then you can decide if you want the lump out or not. I recommend removing the lump if you can feel it. I myself do not want to feel a lump in my breast.
However, if the biopsy is cancer then we will need to discuss surgery and options.

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What do you do if you have drainage from your nipple?

All drainage needs to be checked out as breast cancer can present with drainage. However, if drainage is noted only on squeezing the nipple, then usually it is not a problem.

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What is your risk for breast cancer?

The risk is assessed by the age you started menstruating, your age at menopause, previous breast biopsy and family history. However, the majority of women with breast cancer have no major risk factors and no family history.

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If my mammogram was normal, do I need to worry about the lump in my breast?

Having a normal mammogram does not mean that there is no cancer there. About 15% of mammograms will miss cancer. Especially if the breasts are dense which means that the cancer can hide behind the dense breast tissue. You should get an ultrasound and a biopsy if there is a mass in the breast.

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My mammogram was read as abnormal with microcalcifications, what should I do next?

Microcalcifications may be associated with cancer in 20% of patients. If the calcifications are new and different from a previous mammogram, these should be biopsied. Biopsy can be done using mammogram guided needle biopsy called stereotactic biopsy.

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Suburban Surgery Center
1950 N. Harlem Ave, Elmwood Park, IL 60707
P: 708.453.6800 | F: 708.453.3985