Health Care Wellness

Shine the Light on Breast Exams

AdventHealth's annual Glow Walk raises awareness about life saving health screenings.

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The more you know about your breasts, the more likely you are to detect the warning signs of breast cancer early. A simple, at-home exam can truly be life-changing. According to Crystal Clawson, lead mammographer at AdventHealth Central Texas, there are several ways to conduct a self-exam at home, including in the shower, lying down and in front of a mirror. “Once a month, using the pads of your three middle fingers, check your entire breast and your armpit area pressing down with light to medium pressure,” Clawson says. “And then go back with a slightly firmer pressure. Using different pressures is a really good tool.”

Both women and men should be feeling and looking for:

» Lumps or masses in the breast

» Swelling under the arms or around the collarbone

» Skin irritation or dimpling

» Nipple pain

» Inverted nipples

» Thickening of the nipple or the breast skin

» Breast heat

» Discharge from the nipple (other than breast milk)

If you notice any of these warning signs, Clawson says to call your health care provider immediately. While not all breast changes are indicative of cancer, early detection is key to saving lives.

Although most insurance providers cover an annual mammogram, Clawson says checking your breasts once a year is not enough. For those who are uninsured or underinsured, that could mean going even longer without an exam. To serve this community, AdventHealth Central Texas created a “Shine the Light, Glow Walk” event to raise money to provide free mammograms for those in need.

Most often, the screenings come back normal, but every now and then, someone needs additional imaging for things like cysts or clogged ducts. Last year, the program detected cancer in one patient, who immediately sought treatment. That’s proof that the more you know about your breasts, the healthier you can be.

During the month of October, the AdventHealth Central Texas Foundation offers $90 mammograms.

Uninsured or underinsured, we encourage community members to take advantage of this opportunity.

If you or someone you know needs a mammogram screening, please call Call254-519-8537 for more information.

*Some candidates may qualify for a free mammogram screening*

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