This week, the Komen for the Cure charity decided to stop funding Planned Parenthood's breast cancer screening program for low-income women. Regardless of your political beliefs on the matter, the controversy does highlight one big truth: Breast cancer screenings save lives. So, are you up to date on yours?
It's still up for debate when women should get their first mammogram -- it depends on complicated factors like family history. So, it's important to talk to your doctor about when and how often you should have one, given your specific medical circumstances.
Another way doctors sometimes catch breast cancer is by performing a clinical breast exam as part of a routine annual physical or a well woman exam. It's also useful for establishing a "baseline" of what's normal for your breasts, which will be noted in your charts, letting a doctor track any changes.
If a mammogram or clinical breast exam indicates a possible abnormality (or you report one to your doctor, such as pain), you may receive a breast ultrasound so that your doctor can get a visual idea of what the tissue looks like.