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Breast Self-Exams

By practicing monthly breast self-examination, by visiting your doctor annually for a check-up, and by having a mammogram, you can take an active role in your breast health care. Examine your breasts every month, checking for changes or lumps that are unfamiliar to you. Before menopause, the best time to do the exam is two weeks after the start of your monthly period. After menopause, choose a day and examine on that day each month.

Learn more in the video below:

 

Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines

MedStar Health doctors and the American Cancer Society recommend different breast cancer screening guidelines based on the following risk categories:

Average Risk

  • Age 20 to 34
    • Monthly breast self-examination
    • Breast examination by a trained professional every three years
  • Age 35 to 39
    • Monthly breast self-examination
    • Breast examination by a trained professional every three years
  • Age 40 and over
    • Monthly breast self-examination
    • Annual breast examination by a trained professional
    • Annual mammogram

Average risk may increase based on:

  • Personal history of breast abnormalities
  • Current age
  • Breast cancer history of close relatives
  • Whether a woman has had a breast biopsy
  • Obesity
  • Physical inactivity
  • Race

High-risk: Family history of breast cancer (at least one first-degree relative—parent or sibling—who has had breast cancer)

  • Women should be aware of any changes in their breasts. Monthly breast self-examination beginning at 20 years old is optional, but highly recommended.
  • Clinical breast examination every six months starting 10 years before the age at which the youngest family member was diagnosed with breast cancer.
  • Annual mammography starting 10 years before the age of the youngest family member with breast cancer (but no earlier than 25 and no later than 40).
  • Consider annual MRI (consult with your physician).

High-risk: Diagnosis of benign breast disease or breast cancer confined to the milk duct or lobule

  • Women should be aware of any changes in their breasts. Monthly breast self-examination beginning at 20 years old is optional, but highly recommended.
  • Clinical breast examination every six months beginning at time of diagnosis.
  • Annual mammography beginning at the time of diagnosis.
  • Consider annual MRI (consult with your physician).

Location Information

For a physician referral, please call 1-877-715-HOPE.

Our Locations

MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center
The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Cancer Institute
9103 Franklin Square Drive
Baltimore, MD 21237

MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital
5601 Loch Raven Boulevard
Baltimore, MD 21239

MedStar Harbor Hospital
The Cancer Center
3001 South Hanover St.
Baltimore, MD 21225

MedStar Union Memorial Hospital
3333 North Calvert St.
Johnston Professional Bldg
G23
Baltimore, MD 21218

MedStar Health Bel Air Medical Campus
Breast Center at Bel Air
12 MedStar Blvd.
Bel Air, MD 21015
Phone: 410-515-6090

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