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Performing a breast self-exam (BSE) is a simple process. It requires only a few minutes of your time to do a complete exam.  Getting in the habit of examining your breasts once a month can help you become familiar with the way your breasts normally feel and look, which in turn can help you recognize anything unusual in the future. 

When should you do BSE?
While it is recommended to get your first mammogram at the age of 40, women should begin performing monthly BSEs around the age of 20 and continue throughout their lives. The best time to perform the monthly self-exam is when the breasts are least likely to be tender or swollen, typically a few days after your period ends.  If you no longer menstruate, it is a good idea to pick a certain day—for example, the first of every month—to remember to do your breast self-exam.

Why do a BSE?
While mammograms can help detect breast cancer before you feel a lump, performing breast self-exams can help you become familiar with how your breasts feel and look, so you can be more knowledgeable about your breast health and alert your physician with any concerns or changes. Breast self-exams may aid in early detection of breast cancer and are especially important for women with a family history of breast cancer or for those who possess several risk factors. BSE, along with regular mammograms and annual physical examinations by your healthcare provider make it possible to detect breast cancer early. The earlier that breast cancer is detected the better the outcome.

How is it done?
Physicians suggest several tips and procedures to guide a successful self-breast exam.  Ask your physician to review your technique during your annual health exam.  Tell your physician right away if you find any of the following changes; development of a lump, thickening, discharge other than breast milk, swelling of the breast, skin irritation or dimpling, and nipple abnormalities such as pain, redness, turning inward, etc.

Fort Memorial Hospital is a Pink Ribbon facility, recognized as providing excellence in breast health paired with exceptional commitment and support to the women of our community. Visit Fort HealthCare’s Center for Women’s Health website for more information regarding breast health.

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Sprained ankles are the bane of many athletes and weekend warriors. If you think you’ve sprained an ankle, you should see a clinician for proper healing and to avoid future injury.

When you sprain an ankle, one or more ligaments of your ankle become overly stretched or even torn. Although it is possible to sprain the ligaments on the inside or outside of your ankle, the ligaments on the outside are most commonly sprained. They most often occur when your toes are on the ground, the heel is up and you are walking or running on an uneven surface. The ankle can turn inward, damaging the ligaments causing the sprain.

Ligaments in your ankle provide stability and motion, so when they are hurt, you are at an increased risk for more damaging injuries.

Sprain Severity
The severity of an ankle sprain is determined by a grading scale. Each grade has appropriate treatment.
Grade 1: Stretching of the ligaments. Treat by using RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation)
Grade 2: Stretching and some rupture of the ligaments. Treat by using RICE and by allowing additional time to heal. A sprain of this severity may need to be splinted.
Grade 3: Greater rupture of the ligaments. You may need to wear a brace for 2-3 weeks while the injury heals. Repeated ankle sprains may require surgery to repair the ligaments.

After treatment, most people need to follow through with rehabilitation, with exercises to strengthen the muscles around the ankle and learn to use the ankle more efficiently. With any type of sprain the ankle needs sufficient time to recover. It is important to remember that even if the pain has gone away you still need to follow the correct recovery procedure in order to for your sprain to heal properly.

For sports- or work-related injuries, a physical or occupational therapist, or licensed athletic trainer, can be integral in returning to pre-injury capacity. Our Therapy & Sport Center provides treatment and rehab for injuries from the simplest sprain, to a full joint replacement. If you’re hurt – don’t hesitate to call. Waiting often only leads to further damage.

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