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Ways to keep yourself healthy and detect signs of breast cancer


Breast Cancer. Two words that, when combined, have had centuries to build up a reputation as an intimidating, daunting prognosis. Fortunately, the medical field has made leaps and bounds in advancement in both treatment and early detection. We spoke with Emily J. Tetelman DO, FACOG, a board certified obstetrician and gynecologist at Crystal Run Healthcare about the early warning signs of breast cancer. Below are just a few ways you can keep yourself healthy and also detect signs of breast cancer.


Home Self-Exam

A home self-exam is something many people are familiar with the concept, but may not be in the habit of doing so often. However, performing a breast self-exam once a month can help you detect physical signs of an abnormality. For each self-exam it is important to check for:

  • Visual changes in your breasts such as moles, discharge, and dimpling or indentations.
  • Textural changes like elasticity, abnormally rough skin, and lumps.
  • Changes around your armpit as breast tissue extends into that part of your body.


Yearly Visits to an OBGYN

“I know it feels like repetitive information, but it really is important to schedule and attend your yearly health check-ups,” says Dr. Tetelman, “When you have your annual OBGYN wellness visit, your provider is keeping an eye on any changes your body may be going through and they are trained to spot anything that may need  closer medical examination.”


At your yearly visit, your OBGYN will assess your current overall health, in addition to several routine check-ups. They will perform a breast exam to check for lumps, skin changes, or nipple discharge; a pelvic exam to check your vulva, vagina, cervix, uterus, rectum, and pelvis, including your ovaries, for masses, growths, or other abnormalities. If you are sexually active, tell your provider so they can also test for any STDs or other related health concerns.


As you age there will be specific tests your OBGYN will conduct to ensure that you have the most optimal health. From ages 21 on you should be scheduled for a Pap screen every three years, or an HPV test every five years if you are over 30, to test for cervical cancer. At 40 years old your provider will begin to recommend mammogram screenings every year until you are 55, which they will then schedule for every two years, to check for breast cancer or other tissue abnormalities. For those with a family history of breast cancer, your provider may recommend you begin mammograms screenings earlier than age 40.

Men can also be at risk for breast cancer, so it is important to ask these questions while at your yearly check-up to keep both yourself and your current provider up-to-date on your health and health risks.

“When you are at your annual visit, check in with your provider on any concerns you may have or what to look out for based on both your family’s medical history and your diet and lifestyle,” explains Dr. Tetelman, “Your OBGYN will be able to go over best health practices specific to your needs.”

Follow up on your Post-Screenings

Statistically, about 10-12% of all mammogram visits require a follow-up visit. However, that does not necessarily mean that there is something wrong. Your provider will most likely schedule you for an ultrasound, MRI, or biopsy to ensure that the results from your mammogram are benign or easily treatable.

“About one in ten patients who have a return visit after their initial mammogram do require treatment,” advises Dr. Tetelman, “So it is important to make and attend those follow-up visits even if it will most likely not lead to a cancer diagnosis.”

The gynecologists and obstetricians at Crystal Run Healthcare are committed to all aspects of women’s health. Our OB/GYN providers offer a full range of gynecological care for women of all ages, including routine exams, Pap smears, prenatal and obstetrical care, as well as in-office procedures and minimally invasive surgery. Crystal Run’s state-of-the-art Women’s Imaging Suite also offers a wide range of diagnostic services from annual mammogram screenings to bone density testing. With the expertise and compassionate care of our skilled, board certified physicians, it’s the kind of care and convenience patients can count on.


Emily J. Tetelman, DO, FACOG, is a Board Certified Obstetrics & Gynecology physician at Crystal Run Healthcare and a Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists . She earned her Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine at New York College of Osteopathic Medicine in Old Westbury, NY, and completed her Residency in Obstetrics & Gynecology at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY. Dr. Tetelman’s clinical interests include minimally-invasive surgery and obstetrics. She is currently seeing patients in Middletown, Monroe and Rock Hill, NY.