Breast self-examination, or frequently checking your breasts on your own, can be a significant way to detect breast cancer early on while it’s still more inclined to be managed successfully. While no individual test can identify all breast cancer types early, performing a breast self-examination along with other screening techniques, can improve the chances of early detection.
Start by observing your breasts in front of a mirror ensuring that your shoulders are straight and your arms are on your hips.
This is what you should look for:
- Do your breasts have their usual colour, size and shape?
- Are your breasts shaped evenly with no detectable malformation or swelling
If you observe any of the following changes, please inform your doctor:
- Dimpling, puckering or bulging of the skin
- A nipple that has shifted it’s position or is inverted
- Redness, pain, rash, or inflammation
For step 2, raise your arms above your head and proceed to examine for the changes mentioned in step 1.
While you are still in front of the mirror, observe if there are any indications of fluid secreting from one or both of your nipples (watery, yellow fluid, milky, or blood).
In step 4, lay down and examine your breasts using your left hand to check your right breast and your right hand to check your left breast. Using a firm and smooth touch with the first few fingers flat and together, make a circular movement, approximately the size of a quarter.
Check the entire breast from top to bottom, left to right — from collarbone to above your abdomen, and also your armpit all the way to your cleavage.
Follow a pattern to be certain that you include the entire breast. Begin at your nipple, moving in larger circles until you get to the outer edge of your breast. It is also recommended that you move your fingers up and down, in rows. This method appears to work best for most ladies.
The final step involves, examining your breasts in a standing or sitting position. Countless women have determined that the most comfortable way to check their breasts is when their skin is soaked and slippery, they like to perform this step while they are in the shower. Incorporate your entire breast, using the identical hand actions as explained in step 4.
How to make breast self examination a part of your breast cancer screening strategy
Make self-examination check a routine. The more you check your breasts, the easier it becomes for you to ascertain if something is different or has changed. Strive to get into the routine of performing a breast self-examination on a monthly basis to become accustomed to how your breasts ordinarily look and feel. Do your self-examination a few days after your the end of your menstruation cycle, as that is when your breasts are least inclined to be swollen and painful. If you have stopped having your period, choose a day that is easiest to remember, for example, the first or last day of every month.
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