Methods for detection of breast cancer include breast self-examinations, clinical examinations by a healthcare professional, and mammography. In most cases, mammography can identify an abnormal breast mass as much as two years before it can be detected by touch. Although breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, after lung cancer, the rate of deaths from breast cancer has declined in recent years.
It is believed that early detection and treatment of breast cancers is the key to successful treatment and survival.
The American Cancer Society recommends the following guidelines for detecting breast cancer:
- All women aged 20 or older should perform breast self-examination every month.
- Between the ages of 20 and 39, women should have a clinical breast exam by a healthcare professional every 3 years.
- Women aged 40 and older should have an annual screening mammogram and an annual clinical breast exam by a healthcare professional every year.
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