Women are perhaps the most perfect creations of God. (Sorry men, no offense). They balance family, work and what not. But often this leaves us with little to no time for self-care. Breast cancer is one of the most prevalent cancer types and early detection is helpful in eliminating it completely from the system. A routine breast examination by health practitioners might not be possible for every woman. So it is a good idea to do a regular self-examination of your breasts. It hardly takes more than a few minutes but is a vital way to ensure you are healthy and disease free. And, the quicker you detect a tumor, chances of successful removal and recovery are higher. In this article, I will share the guidelines on how to do a self breast exam.
1. Get a feel of your breast shape and size. Not only do the shape and size of breasts differ from woman to woman, they also look and feel different at different times of the month. Your menstrual cycle and hormonal changes influence these changes, so getting a feel of the normal shape and size is important. For this, you can stand in front of a large mirror and look at them, feel the area and adjoining areas. It’s important to do this multiple times initially so as to be aware of your body. You can find the stage where your breasts are not swollen or tender (this generally happens during periods) and then find a day that works for you.
2. Stick to a routine of once every month to perform a self-examination of your breasts.
3. Carefully observe your breasts in the mirror, while standing upright with your arms on your hips. Look for any obvious signs of concern like rash, swelling, inflammation, soreness and such.
4. Observe your nipples for any dimpling or puckering of the skin. Do not ignore these signs and seek expert advice.
5. Next, raise your arms and again look for these changes. Observe anything that seems different from the usual- look, color, and/or texture.
6. Check for any kind of fluid discharge from any of the nipples.
7. Next, lie down in a comfortable position. Use a firm touch of the first two or three fingers to probe the breasts. Use your left hand for your right breast and vice versa. Use a circular motion to feel the breasts and surrounding area slowly, right from the collarbone to the armpits, cleavage and upper abdomen. Look for any lumps or depression or any areas which give unnatural pain. Do not press hard, but keep a firm touch.
8. Repeat this step of checking while standing upright again.
You are done and good to go. The entire process takes hardly 15 minutes of your time. I am pretty sure you can devote these precious 15 minutes each month. This is a very healthy practice and goes a long way in finding any traces of a possible tumor. Do not ignore any anomaly you find and seek a medical opinion. Also, do not panic as breast cancer can be treated effectively. Hope this post helped you a become a little more aware.