Lie down and place your right arm behind your head. The exam is done while lying down, not standing up. This is because when lying down the breast tissue spreads evenly over the chest wall and is as thin as possible, making it much easier to feel all the breast tissue.
Use the finger pads of the 3 middle fingers on your left hand to feel for lumps in the right breast. Use overlapping dime-sized circular motions of the finger pads to feel the breast tissue.
Use 3 different levels of pressure to feel all the breast tissue. Light pressure is needed to feel the tissue closest to the skin; medium pressure to feel a little deeper; and firm pressure to feel the tissue closest to the chest and ribs. It is normal to feel a firm ridge in the lower curve of each breast, but you should tell your doctor if you feel anything else out of the ordinary. If you're not sure how hard to press, talk with your doctor or nurse. Use each pressure level to feel the breast tissue before moving on to the next spot.
Move around the breast in an up and down pattern starting at an imaginary line drawn straight down your side from the underarm and moving across the breast to the middle of the chest bone (sternum or breastbone). Be sure to check the entire breast area going down until you feel only ribs and up to the neck or collar bone (clavicle
While standing in front of a mirror with your hands pressing firmly down on your hips, look at your breasts for any changes of size, shape, contour, or dimpling, or redness or scaliness of the nipple or breast skin. (The pressing down on the hips position contracts the chest wall muscles and enhances any breast changes.)
Examine each underarm while sitting up or standing and with your arm only slightly raised so you can easily feel in this area. Raising your arm straight up tightens the tissue in this area and makes it harder to examine.
Mammogram screening is covered for all women with Medicare age 40 and older every 12 months. You can also get one baseline mammogram between ages 35 and 39. You pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount with no Part B deductible. Medicare also covers new digital technologies for mammogram screenings. Medicare provides 80% coverage for a clinical breast exam once every 24 months, without Part B deductible.
At this time, Medicare's cancer screening coverage information does not include MRI in addition to mammogram as a covered screening method for women who are at high risk for breast cancer. If you and your doctor agree that you are at high risk for breast cancer, you may be able to find out more by talking with your doctor's billing service about possible Medicare coverage for breast MRI.
The American Cancer Society's most recent estimates for lung cancer in the United States are for 2009:
219,440 new cases of lung cancer (both small cell and non-small cell)
159,390 deaths from lung cancer
Lung cancer (both small cell and non-small cell) is the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women. More people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined. Lung cancer is rare in people under the age of 45. The average lifetime chance that a man will develop lung cancer is about 1 in 13. For a woman it is 1 in 16. These numbers include both smokers and non-smokers. For smokers the risk is much higher, while for non-smokers the risk is lower.
Starting at age 50,* you should follow one of the 6 options below. The tests that are designed to find both early cancer and polyps are preferred if these tests are available to you and you are willing to have one of these more invasive tests. Talk to your doctor about which test is best for you.
Tests that can find polyps and cancer:
Double contrast barium enema every 5 years
Flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years
Colonoscopy every 10 years
CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy) every 5 years
Tests that mainly find cancer:
Yearly take-home package for fecal occult blood test (FOBT), or fecal immunochemical test (FIT)
Ovarian cancer is the ninth most common cancer in women (not counting skin cancer). It ranks fifth as the cause of cancer death in women. Around two-thirds of women with ovarian cancer are 55 or older. It is slightly more common in white women that African-American women.
A woman's risk of getting invasive ovarian cancer during her lifetime is about 1 in 71. Her lifetime chance of dying from invasive ovarian cancer is about 1 in 95.
There are no effective and proven screening tests for early detection of ovarian cancer.
If your mother, sister, or daughter has had ovarian cancer or breast cancer, or if your parent, sibling, or child has had colorectal cancer, you are at high risk of ovarian cancer. If you have had breast cancer, you are also at high risk. You may want to talk to your doctor about:
Cancer of the skin (including melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer) is the most common of all cancers. It accounts for about half of all cancers. The exact number of basal and squamous cell cancers is not known for certain. This means that the numbers given here are estimates.
More than 1 million basal and squamous cell skin cancers are found each year each year. Most of these (about 800,000 to 900,000) are basal cell cancers. Squamous cell cancer is less common – there are about 200,000 to 300,000 cases per year.
Become familiar with any moles, freckles, or other spots on your skin. Use mirrors or have a family member or close friend look at areas you can’t see (ears, scalp, lower back). For more information on skin self-exam, read Skin Cancer Prevention and Early Detection on www.cancer.org .
Check for skin changes once a month. Show any suspicious or changing areas to your doctor
Cancer-related check-up (including skin exam) with your doctor is recommended during regular visits for people age 20 and older, especially those with risk factors for skin cancer