Tag: Premier Surgical Lawson Group

Prioritizing Breast Health: Your Guide to Breast Exams

Breast exams are performed to check for any unusual changes to your breast tissue. These checks are an important way to be proactive with your breast health—early detection is the best protection. Do you know how to do a monthly breast self exam? The physicians of Premier Surgical Lawson Group encourage women to prioritize your breast health. Here’s a guide to breast exams.woman with breast cancer ribbon.

Early Detection Tools

Finding a problem or cancer in your breast, and finding it early, is your best chance for a successful outcome. There are three detection tools all women should utilize.

These breast screening tools include:

  • A clinical breast exam by your gynecologist
  • A monthly self-exam
  • Regularly scheduled mammograms


A mammogram is the best way to detect cancerous tumors, even the smallest. This screening tool can find one before either you or your gynecologist can feel it. It is recommended that all women 40 and older begin to have mammograms every 1 to 2 years. Women younger than 40 who have risk factors should talk with a specialist about when to begin.

Monthly Breast Self Exams

The purpose of doing a monthly breast self-exam is knowing what’s normal for you. Breast self-exams are important for your breast health, but not to the exclusion of a regular mammography screening or a clinical exam by your gynecologist. Women should begin doing this at any age.

Knowing what’s normal for your own breasts can help alert you to an issue. Bring that to the attention of your physician should you notice any changes. If you are still getting your period, plan to do the exam after you finish menstruating. That way you avoid any breast tenderness. There should be no pain while performing a breast self-exam.

If you are in menopause simply pick a certain day of the month to perform your self-exam.

The Visual Exam

Start by looking in the mirror at your breasts with your hands by your side. Notice their shape, your nipples, asymmetry, any puckering, or dimpling. Look for nipples turned inward. Then raise your hands over your head with palms pressed together.

The Manual Exam

The next part involves touching your breasts to discover any abnormalities like lumps. You can do this lying down on your back which forces breast tissue to spread out and easier to feel any changes.

You can also do the manual part in the shower with soap, so your hands will glide easily using the pads of your fingers and with different pressure.

Let your doctor know if you feel any hard lumps or knots, redness or warmth, swelling or pain, sores or rashes, or a nipple discharge to name a few.

Important Takeaways

A breast self-exam does not replace mammograms or regular visits to your gynecologist.

Ask your physician to evaluate your breast self-exam technique, or show you the most effective way.

When breast cancer is detected early and remains localized, the 5 year survival rate is 99%.

Adult women of all ages are encouraged to perform breast self-exams.

Prioritize your breast health by getting regular mammograms and doing monthly breast self-exams.

The physicians of Premier Surgical Lawson Surgical Group specialize in the diagnosis and surgical treatment of breast cancer. Call (865) 975-5650 to request an appointment at our office in Johnson City.

Meet Dr. Michael Cutshall

After spending years learning and training far away from home, Michael Cutshall, MD, is thrilled to be back in his hometown of Johnson City, TN, starting his dream job with his father.

“When I decided to become a general surgeon, my dream was to move back home and work with my father,” smiles Cutshall. “I’m excited to finally be here.”

His father, Kenneth Cutshall, MD, FACS, has been a general surgeon in Johnson City for nearly 3 decades. He also teaches young surgical residents and medical students as a Clinical Professor of Surgery at Quillen College of Medicine.

Cutshall says growing up with a surgeon dad influenced him to pursue a career in medicine.  “It was definitely a driving factor. I would visit my dad’s office as a kid and remember him genuinely enjoying his work. In college I studied biology on a pre-med track and really found an interest in it.”

During medical school at the University of Tennessee in Memphis, Cutshall was drawn to surgery. “I enjoy being hands on and love anatomy. During my surgical rotations, no matter how tired I was, I always looked forward to getting in the operating room and learning how to care for surgical patients.”   

Throughout residency, Cutshall broached the subject of joining his father’s practice and decided to join the Premier Surgical Lawson Group office with his father after graduating.

“He was ecstatic!” says Cutshall. “He never pressured me to make any career choices I didn’t want, and he was very excited I decided to come back to join his practice.”

As young Dr. Cutshall settles into his new practice in Johnson City, he wants patients to know that his goal is always to be honest with his patients.

“My philosophy is to be completely honest and transparent with patient care, so my patients can understand their illness and the available treatment options well enough to guide their own care. Although there are no guarantees in medicine, I want to provide the best care possible for my patients, and I want them to feel good about their care.

Cutshall, who is fluent in Spanish, hopes to eventually share his medical knowledge and skills with underserved patients in other parts of the world. “My goal is to get involved with global outreach and partner with surgeons in underdeveloped countries to provide equipment and transfer knowledge about the newest techniques and treatments.”

In his rare spare time, Cutshall enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife and two young children visiting parks, lakes, and hiking.

General Surgeon Dr. Michael Cutshall is now accepting new patients at the Premier Surgical Lawson Group in Johnson City. To request an appointment with Dr. Cutshall, please call (423) 975-5650.

Premier Surgical Lawson Group is a division of Premier Surgical Associates.

How Much Pain Will I Be In After Hernia Surgery?

How much pain will I be in after hernia surgery? Having any kind of surgery will cause different levels of pain afterward. At the same time, everyone feels pain differently. That’s why doctors usually ask us how the pain feels on a scale of 1 to 10. It gives them a sense of your pain. The team at Premier Surgical Lawson Group in Johnson City wants you to understand the kind of pain you may experience  after a hernia procedure and how to handle it. Continue reading “How Much Pain Will I Be In After Hernia Surgery?”