Mahaska Health Partnership Encourages Monthly Breast Self Awareness Exams

Mahaska Health Partnership

Mahaska Health Partnership

MAHASKA COUNTY – With Breast Cancer Awareness Month right around the corner, Mahaska Health Partnership Family Practice and Obstetrics Physician Angela Godejohn, MD, explains the important aspects of self breast awareness exams.

While most of the major organizations no longer recommend self breast exams as part of breast cancer screening, breast self awareness is still important. “Knowing your breasts is essential to your ability to detect subtle changes”, Dr. Godejohn explained.

If you choose to perform breast self awareness exams, there are two techniques to use, visual inspection (looking at the breasts) and examination (feeling the breast tissues for lumps). The best way to look for changes is to stand in front of a mirror. Stand or sit shirtless and braless in front of a mirror. Look at the breasts with your hands at your side, over your head and on your hips.

“This will help show any distortion, discoloration, swelling or dimpling of the skin,” Dr. Godejohn shared. “Watch for changes in size and shape too, as well as nipple discharge. Any of these can be signs you may need further evaluation.”

It’s also important to check for lumps in your breast tissue that can indicate an abnormality. The two most common ways to check are either lying down in bed or in the shower. Neither method is preferred; it just depends on what you more comfortable with. When lying down, the breast tissue spreads out, making it easier to feel lumps.

“Put your arm behind your head on that same side, then use the opposite hand to feel the breast tissue in a routine pattern, whether it be circular or up and down, to ensure you are covering all of the tissue,” Dr. Godejohn suggested. “Feel from your collarbone to the ridge under your breast and your armpit area to your cleavage. Use different types of pressure and take note of any bumps or lumps.

“Another place to check your breasts is in the shower,” Dr. Godejohn advised. “Many women find it easier when the skin is wet and slippery. Follow the same pattern as you would when lying down; place your arm behind your head and check with the opposite hand in a pattern to avoid missing any spots.”

It is important to remember that breast self awareness exams are no substitute for a comprehensive examination by your primary care provider, as well as screening mammography. “It is recommended to have yearly physical appointments with your primary care physician to ensure you are taking steps to prevent health complications down the road,” Dr. Godejohn urged.

“If you detect something before your appointment, by all means, schedule one earlier. Fortunately, most changes detected through a breast self awareness exam are non-cancerous. If there are abnormalities, the sooner they are detected, the better your odds are with treatment.”

To celebrate October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, MHP is hosting a Breast Cancer Walk on the Square in Oskaloosa on Friday, Oct. 6. Then on Tuesday, Oct. 17, MHP is hosting its 9th Annual Free Women’s Breast Health Night. For more information on either event, visit mahaskahealth.org or call 641.672.3369.

Family Practice and Obstetrics Physician Angela Godejohn, MD, loves helping to safely bring new life into the world while supporting the healthcare needs of women during different stages of their life. She has served with the Navy all over the world but chose to settle in the Midwest because she appreciates small town living and the relationships she gets to have with her patients. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Godejohn, call 641.672.3360.

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Posted by on Sep 14 2017. Filed under Lifestyle, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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