Self Breast Examination Can Help Save Lives
Posted in: HEALTH
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women after skin cancer and is responsible for 16% of neoplastic tumors in women. Due to the excessive amount of awareness, celebrity endorsements, breast cancer days, many women are now more aware with the condition. Hence, it is understandable why finding a lump in your breast can be worrisome for you. Surprisingly, 8 out 10 times a breast lump isn’t cancerous but mainly due to an infection, cyst, benign tumor or trauma. Evaluation is the key to a better outcome, and the earlier it is done the more favorable the prognosis is, hence regular breast assessments are important especially if you have a previous history or a strong family history of breast cancer. Self breast examinations can be of equal worth as they are done by you, in your privacy and you don’t have to get doctor’s appointments every now and then. Follow these simple and easy steps to do your own self breast examination:
- Start your examination by looking at yourself in the mirror with your shoulders straight and your arms on your hips and inspect for the symmetry, shape and size of both of your breasts. Look for any distortions, swellings or discharge from your nipple (note the consistency, order and color of the liquid: watery, milky, yellowish or blood). Examine both the breasts simultaneously so you easily pick out if there is any difference.
- Raise your arms above your head and look for the same changes. Also look for any swelling, lump or bulge on your axilla as well.
- Hunch forwards with your arms at your hips and inspect your breasts for any unusual changes.
- Now lie down on your back and use your left hand to examine your right breast and vice versa. Using the pad of your fingers, move either in a circular manner starting from your nipple or in a vertical motion or wedges, covering all the quadrants starting from the collar bone to the top of your abdomen and from your axilla to your cleavage. Look for any lump, however small it is and see if it is smooth or irregular, fixed or moveable, painful or painless, and its extent.
- Sit up or stand, whatever you prefer and repeat the whole process again.
If you find any of these changes bring them to your doctor’s attention immediatedly for further evaluation:
- > Redness, rash, warmth or tender swelling (painful breasts are usually a sign of an infection as most cancers are painless but the sign shouldn’t be ignored)
- > If the skin is puckered, dimpled, distorted or is budging from anywhere
- > If the nipple has changed position and is inverted
- > Unusually swollen breast
- > Lump in the axilla
- > Lump in the breast that is fixed, irregular and hard
- > Itching on the nipple
- > Spontaneous discharge, especially if it is blood stained
- > Crusting, ulcers or scaling of nipples
Breast cancers can be treated if they are in their earlier stages. The later the stage gets, the more difficult it gets to manage them as they spread out. If you find any lump in your breast, get a mammogram and preferably a biopsy as well so you can be certain of the diagnosis and your doctor can start the treatment accordingly.
Images: SELBCT.org, Pinterest.com | MYC Writer: Abeer AltafSubscribe to UpdatesRelated Articles