Morning Rounds: Breast cancer awareness

NORFOLK, Va. - News 3 This Morning is taking action for breast cancer awareness.

Dr. Light with TPMG Greenbrier Family Medicine is shared the following advice on screening, prevention and breast cancer concerns for men.

How early should breast cancer screening begin?

All women should be screened by age 50.  Some health care providers believe that screening should begin as early as 40, establishing a baseline mammogram.

Should certain women get screened earlier than others? 

Women who are at high risk for breast cancer should be screened earlier. If there is a familial history, the recommendation changes to an MRI and a mammogram every year. A general rule is that these earlier screenings should start 10 years prior to the age that the family member was diagnosed.   For example, if the mother had breast cancer diagnosis at 45, the daughter should be screen at 35. There are also genetic screening tests that can be performed to predict a higher risk population. Women can have a simple cellular test for BRAC 1 and BRAC 2 mutations.

Are there any warning signs other than lumps in the breast that can indicate breast cancer?

  • Changes in the shape of the nipple or nipple discharge
  • Pain in the breast
  • Unexplained redness, swelling, or enlargement of the breast
  • Dimpling of the skin on breast
  • Enlarged lymph nodes in the armpit

What can women do to help prevent breast cancer?

  • Limit alcohol consumption to 1 drink per day.
  • Don't smoke.
  • Control your weight and be physically active.
  • A diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
  • Women who breast feed decrease their risk of breast cancer.

Should men get screened, too?

Breast cancer in men is very rare, negating the need for routine screening. Breast cancer warning signs in men are similar to women. If men experience these signs or symptoms they should be seen by their provider.