Skip to main content

I Did a Breast Self-Exam — Do I Still Need a Mammogram?

Although your breasts are attached to your chest, you may not be as familiar with them as you should be. Breast cancer is a real threat, especially if you don't know what to look for in your own body.

Breast self-exams are one of the best prevention measures you can take to find cancer early on. They help you familiarize yourself with your breast tissue, so you're aware of any changes that arise.

But a breast self-exam isn't the only tool you need to maintain your breast health. A mammogram is another essential test that helps us detect changes in your breast tissues.

Dr. John Paul Roberts is an expert OB/GYN offering mammograms and other women's health services at his office in Plano, Texas. Dr. Roberts gives you tips on what to look for during a breast self-exam and when a mammogram is necessary.

The importance of breast self-exams

A self-exam is one of the most significant tools you have to find changes in your breast tissue that could signal cancer. It's a way to familiarize yourself with your breast tissue every month to keep your breasts healthy.

Every woman should perform a breast self-exam at least once monthly, usually a few days after their menstrual cycle. That's when the breasts are most sensitive and tender, which helps you find abnormalities more easily.

If you're in menopause, aim to check your breasts once a month on the same day for consistency. Notify Dr. Roberts of any changes you feel, as most women detect breast cancer with a lump that appears in the breast tissue.

During a self-exam, you should look at and feel each of your breasts to screen for changes. These exams are essential to your breast health and for early detection of lumps, nipple discharge, or changes in skin color or texture.

When to contact a doctor with your findings

You may go without finding something abnormal in a breast self-exam, but not everyone is so fortunate. Finding a lump or an abnormality in your breast tissue is extremely scary. Still, you don't have to jump to conclusions right away.

Call Dr. Roberts if you find something out of the ordinary in your monthly self-exam. Worrisome findings may include any of the following:

Typically, the next step after any of these findings is an exam, an ultrasound, and a mammogram. These tests allow Dr. Roberts to see into the breast tissue to determine what's causing the skin or tissue changes.

At our office, Dr. Roberts provides in-house mammograms during your yearly exam. He offers state-of-the-art 3D mammography that a certified breast radiologist reads for expert interpretation of your results.

Is a mammogram necessary?

Breast self-exams are an excellent tool for learning your body. Still, they shouldn't replace routine mammograms, which are vital for your breast health and early cancer detection.

A mammogram is slightly better than a breast self-exam because it can detect breast changes and lumps before you can feel them. It's an integral aspect of your health as a woman and early breast cancer detection.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggest starting mammograms at age 40 until the age of 75. These guidelines are for women at an average risk for breast cancer, not those who have a high risk of cancer.

But based on your specific needs and family history, you may need to have a mammogram before the age of 40. For example, you may need to start having mammograms at the age of 30 if you’re at high risk for breast cancer or have certain factors. 

Talk to Dr. Roberts about any concerns you have about your breast health to determine if you require a mammogram earlier than the age of 40. Ultimately, a mammogram is essential, even with regular breast self-exams, for early breast cancer detection.

Call our Plano, Texas, office today at 972-591-8540 to schedule a mammogram or request a consultation via this website.

You Might Also Enjoy...

8 Problems That Contribute to Your Heavy Periods

8 Problems That Contribute to Your Heavy Periods

Heavy bleeding during your period significantly affects your life, but what can you do? Read on to learn about common causes of excessive menstrual bleeding and when it's too much for you to deal with alone.
What Makes a Pregnancy High-Risk?

What Makes a Pregnancy High-Risk?

When you're pregnant, you want to get through the entire nine months safely, making sure you and your baby are healthy. But what if you're high-risk? Read on to discover what causes a high-risk pregnancy and whether you need to worry.
How Often Should I Get a Pap Smear?

How Often Should I Get a Pap Smear?

A Pap smear is an excellent preventive screening tool that checks for signs of cancer early on. But how often do you need one? Read on to discover when you need a Pap smear and what to expect at your appointment.