An Intimate Q&A with an OB/GYN

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Posted on October 11 2012

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It’s Breast Cancer Awareness month, but how many of us are really being “breast aware”?

Sheer consults Dr. Stephanie Chow, a leading physician of Obstetrics and Gynecology in Hong Kong, to ask the five questions you THINK you know the answers to.

 

We’ve heard that we should start performing self-breast exams at the age of 25 and mammograms at the age of 35. Is that true?

It is a good habit to start as early as early as possible as the age of breast cancer patients are getting younger and younger. Young girls who visit an ObGyn for annual check ups should start performing self-exams and it’s important for mothers to encourage this in their daughters. Mammogram as a screening should be done starting from the age of 40. If you have higher risk factors it’s suggested to start earlier. After the age 50, a screening once every 2 years is appropriate or as advised by your physician.

 

We were told that we should do self-breast exams once a month, during our menstrual period. Is that true?

No. It’s best to do self-breast exams everyday when you shower using soap. Once a month is not logical, as no one would remember what she felt one month ago. It’s also a good idea to know what your breasts feel like in a “normal” state so that you are more aware if something doesn’t feel quite right. Your breasts usually feel different during your menstrual period so it’s a good idea to know what they feel like before and after.

 

What should I look for while performing self-exams? 

This chart is a great visual on what you should be looking for while doing self-breast exams. 

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*Source: Susan G. Koman for the Cure®

 

If I feel a lump, does that mean I have breast cancer?  

Generally, if a lump is soft and mobile, it may be a benign breast condition like a cyst. However, if the lump is hard and immobile, it can possibly be a malignant condition. If that happens, see your physician immediately to have it checked out.

 

Will taking a birth control pill increase the risk of breast cancer?

There is minimal risk depending on dosage and length of use.

 

Don’t forget – take 10% off your purchases at Sheer this month and we will donate 10% of all sales to the Hong Kong Breast Cancer Foundation.

Dr. Chow has a private practice at 1304 Central Building in Central. To make an appointment, please call 2523-5729.

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