You should get a breast exam every year if you are under age 39, and every year if you are older than 40. Breast exams can be done at the same time you get your pap smear.
During your breast exam, your doctor will check for any lumps, irregularities. dimpling, or discharge. But you must help your doctor detect anything that does not seem right with your breasts. So, every month, right after your period, while you are in the shower, you should do your own breast exam. Ask your doctor to show you how. Let your doctor know if anyone in your family has had breast cancer, and this will help your doctor determine if you need to have any extra tests.
Remember, not all lumps are cancer. Normal breasts can have lumps too. If you have tenderness and lumpiness in both breasts that gets better after your menstrual cycle, this is most likely normal.
However, if you ever find anything that does not feel quite right, you should go to your doctor to make sure you do not have breast cancer. Warning signs that you should look for are: bleeding from the nipple, a lump that does not go away, an orange peel appearance of the skin on your breast, dimpling of the skin on your breast, itching, and or pain.
After the age of forty, every woman should have a yearly mammogram. A mammogram is just a fancy word for an X-Ray of the breasts. If you have any risk factors for breast cancer, then your doctor might begin ordering mammograms for you after the age of thirty-five.