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Where to Get a Breast Examination in Gig Harbor

According to American Cancer Society, 5,630 women in Washington were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011. Early detection of breast cancer through routine exams saves thousands of lives every year.

 

In 2011, 5,630 women in Washington were diagnosed with breast cancer, according to American Cancer Society. Studies have shown that early detection of breast cancer improves the chances of a cure. That in itself is the most important reason to make an appointment for a breast exam or mammogram.

Here are some clinics offering mammograms near Gig Harbor. 

If you are a women who is 40 to 64 years of age, with limited income and no health insurance, you may qualify for a women's health exam and mammogram. Call Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department at 253-798-6410 and ask for the Breast, Cervical and Colon Health Program to see if you qualify.

Women's Health and Wellness Center

4545 Pt. Fosdick Dr. N.W., Suite 130 

253-792-6220 

Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Third Saturday of the month, 8 a.m. to noon

Franciscan Women's Health

11511 Canterwood Blvd. N.W., Suite 145

253-530-2955

Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Carol Milgard Breast Center

4525 South 19th Street, Tacoma, WA 98405 

253-759-2622

Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Going for an exam can be nerve-wracking. To better understand the importance of exams, check out this helpful information below that explains the process, when you should go and why:

Breast self-exams

There has been a lot of heated debate over the last few years in the research and medical communities about the usefulness of breast self-exams in detecting breast cancer in the early stages. One cancer research organization has even gone as far as to say that it’s a myth.

The American Cancer Society’s guidelines state that women don’t need to do these exams irregularly, let alone regularly.

So, does that mean that you shouldn’t do those breast self-exams in the shower anymore? Well, not quite.

There is enough compelling data to indicate that self-exams are still effective in helping us stay aware of any changes that may be a cause for concern. But the American Cancer Society also recommends a new technique based on expert opinion and research that helps improve breast awareness.

The major difference between this technique and the traditional one is that this one is done lying down, not standing up. Experts say it’s easier to feel breast tissue this way as it spreads more evenly and is at its thinnest.

The next step is to place your right arm behind your head and use three different levels of pressure to feel all of the breast tissue. Light pressure is needed to feel the tissue closest to the skin, medium pressure to feel a little deeper, and firm pressure to feel the tissue closest to the chest and ribs.

Move around the breast in an up-and-down pattern, starting at an imaginary line drawn straight down your side from the underarm. Move across the breast to the middle of the chest bone or breast bone.

Placing your left arm over your head, repeat this process for the other breast.

The next part needs to be done standing up. Check for the following issues while standing in front of the mirror. Place your hands firmly on your hips during this procedure.

  • A lump, hard knot or thickening inside the breast or underarm area
  • Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening of the breast
  • Change in the size or shape of the breast
  • Dimpling or puckering of the skin
  • Itchy, scaly sores or rashes on the nipple
  • Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast
  • Nipple discharge that starts suddenly
  • New pain in one spot that doesn’t go away

Finally, raise your underarm to check for any soreness or pain. And that’s it! You’re done for this month!

Clinical breast exams

The next type of breast exam is not optional and should be done regularly. It’s called the clinical breast exam. This basically means getting your breasts checked by a qualified health professional like a nurse or a doctor.

It's a great way to ensure that everything’s okay, as well as an opportunity to discuss wellness options with your doctor and ask questions, address concerns and clarify doubts. You can also review your self-examination technique and get important feedback.

If you’re in your 20s and 30s, the American Cancer Society recommends that you understand the importance of the clinical breast exam and make sure that it’s part of your periodic health check. You should preferably undergo an exam once every three years.

Mammograms

However, after the age of 40, it’s important for women to undergo annual mammogram screenings. A mammogram is basically an X-ray of your breast. It’s especially useful in cases where there appear to be no breast problems. Mammogram screenings have proven to be most effective in breast cancer detection and are thus an important part of any breast cancer awareness program.

If you haven’t done these tests yet, get started now! Since October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, you can find reasonably priced and convenient options for mammograms and clinical breast exams.

Also on Gig Harbor Patch:

October: Share Your Story for Breast Cancer Awareness

Simone Cannon October 06, 2012 at 06:25 PM
So, here's my concern about mammograms and not having health insurance: if the results are positive and you have no insurance, how will you pay for treatment (which could potentially cost hundreds of thousands of dollars)? On top of that, you will also not be able to buy new insurance because you now have been diagnosed with a pre-existing condition. Does anyone know if the American Cancer Society has addressed this very serious issue?

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