Breast & Ovarian Cancer Screening
The health care providers at Carolina OB/GYN in Rock Hill, SC, conduct screenings for breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Both of these cancers are closely linked to the reproductive health of a women. Through these screening tests, it is possible to detect ovarian or breast cancer before symptoms occur. Early detection can vastly improve the prognosis for treating these forms of cancer.
With the exception of skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women in the United States. It is possible for men to be diagnosed with breast cancer as well, but it is not as typical. Some of the symptoms of breast cancer include:
- A lump in the breast or underarm
- Changes in the size or shape of the breasts
- Swelling in part of the breast
- Dimpling of the skin on the breast
- Redness of flaky skin on or around the nipple
- Pain in the nipple area
- Pain in any area
- Nipple discharge
These symptoms can also occur due to other conditions that are not cancer.
Being aware of what is normal for your breasts is important and you should always seek medical guidance when you notice any changes in your breasts or body that are concerning. Although you will receive a yearly physical breast exam at your annual well-woman visit, it is recommended that women with certain risk factors for breast cancer undergo yearly mammograms and perhaps even an MRI. These risk factors include:
- Family history
Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common form of cancer women contract in the United States, but it is sadly the most common cause of death resulting from gynecologic cancer. Early detection of ovarian cancer improves the longevity of life. Your ovaries are the female organs located in your lower abdomen responsible for producing eggs. Cancer that begins in the ovaries generally causes no symptoms in its early stages. When symptoms do occur, they are non-specific and include loss of appetite and unintended weight loss.
While there are not currently any specific screening tests that can accurately detect ovarian cancer, there transvaginal ultrasound, or TVUS, may be used. Sound waves provide an image of the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. While this can detect if a mass is present, further testing is required to learn if the mass is cancerous.
Preventing Breast & Ovarian Cancer through Genetic Testing
Certain gene mutations are connected to the development of breast and ovarian cancer. These genes are the BRCA1, BRCA2, and PALB2. It is possible to inherit these genes from either parent. If several members of your family across generations have been diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer, you may want to consider being tested to discover if you have an increased risk.
Schedule an Appointment
Stay on track with your reproductive health through your annual wellness exam and yearly screenings. We encourage you to reach out to our office to schedule an appointment if you are experiencing any changes in your body or if you would like to learn more about genetic testing.