All women should examine their breasts once a month, ideally right after menses. Here is a link to a website that gives instructions on how to do a self breast exam.

You should also have an annual breast exam by a doctor and a pap smear to screen for .   After age 40, women should be screened regularly- once yearly mammograms after age 40 is the standard of care in medicine. Of course, if you find a lump and are younger than 40, go see your naturopathic doctor and ask for further testing to make sure it is not . One of my friends had her MD tell her that she was too young to get breast and refuse to order a mammogram.  She ended up having inflammatory breast and was lucky to survive this invasive .  She eventually got mastitis and went to urgent care where she finally got a mammogram and was diagnosed.  Take home message- be assertive and find a new doctor if the one you are seeing isn’t listening to you. is a link to help you find out how to get free breast screenings.  This program has had its funding reduced due to the economy, but it is still possible to get a free screening.  The beauty of this program is that if you are diagnosed with , all of the treatment is paid for my the program.  One of my patients is in this program, which I referred her to, and all of her care is covered, thankfully.  She doesn’t have health insurance, so if it weren’t for this program she would be facing a medical bankruptcy as well as .  If you have extra money to donate to worthy causes, the Komen Foundation is helping many women and could use your help.

Margaret Philhower, ND