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Know Your Normal

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Know Your Normal

"You are worth investing in yourself."

Jamie Caughran, M.D., FACS, of Mercy Health knows preventive breast care is empowering. Along with making time for your annual health exam and 30 minutes of exercise four or five times a week, she recommends these tips for maintaining good breast health:

• Perform a monthly self-breast exam the week after your period, or the same time every month if you are no longer menstruating.
• Become accustomed to the texture of your normal breast tissue, so you can discover changes in your breast if they occur.
• Go for an annual screening mammogram starting at age 40—or 10 years earlier, if breast cancer runs in your family.
• Understand what your breast density is. Women who have higher breast density (levels C and D) may benefit from customized screening exams.

"I sometimes see patients who think they won't develop breast cancer because they have no family history of it. The vast majority of our breast cancer patients have NO family history of breast cancer," said Dr. Caughran. "That is why we recommend monthly self-breast checks, annual physical exams and annual mammography in every woman over 40. Understand your risk and manage it."

If something feels off, Caughran stresses trusting your gut and getting it checked out.

Written by Sarah Suydam, Staff Writer for West Michigan Woman.

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