By Marshalee George, Kimlin Tam Ashing

Part of Detecting and Living with Breast Cancer For Dummies Cheat Sheet

The earlier breast cancer is detected and diagnosed, the better the chances for successful treatment. Here are the best things you can do to improve your odds of catching breast cancer early:

  • Do regular breast self-exams. Feel all over the breast for any lumps or masses on a regular basis. In the shower is a good time and place as the fingers glide more smoothly. Tell your doctor immediately if you notice anything unusual.
  • Know your family history. Identify family members on both your maternal and paternal sides who have a history of breast and ovarian cancer. You must share this information with your doctor to determine if you are high risk.
  • Have screening mammograms. If you have a mother diagnosed with breast cancer, then you should start having screening mammograms ten years before her age at diagnosis.
  • Participate in high-risk screening. Have a TOMO mammogram alternating with a breast MRI if available) if you have a 20 percent or more chance in a lifetime of developing breast cancer. Talk to your doctor to help you assess your breast cancer risk.
  • Follow up. Get additional testing when you have new breast symptoms or if your mammogram is abnormal and make sure you complete the entire treatment recommended for you.