What are the recommendations for a good breast cancer surveillance program?
Generally speaking, there are three components of a comprehensive breast cancer surveillance plan. First, monthly breast self-exam. Studies show that women find 90 percent of the lumps that can be felt. In the pre-menopausal woman, self-exams should be done a few days after the monthly period ends. In post-menopausal women and pregnant women self-exams should be done the same day each month.
Second, an annual clinical breast exam by your healthcare provider. Third, annual mammograms starting at the age of 40. Women who are high risk or have a strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer may want to talk with their healthcare professional about starting mammograms earlier.