The latest study report on breast cancer states that one in twenty-eight Indian Women is likely to develop the breast cancer during her lifetime.
Breast Cancer occurs in the epithelium(lining cells of the ducts) 85% or in the lobules 15%(glandular tissue of the breasts). Initially, the cancerous growth is confined into the duct or lobule where it generally causes no symptoms or has fewer chances of spreading.
Regular self-examination of breasts can help early detection of abnormalities and thus makes the treatment easier. Though all the lumps and abnormalities do not develop into breast cancers still one should report any changes to the doctor.
What is Self-examination of breasts?
A breast self-exam is a method of checking the breasts through manual or visual inspection to detect any abnormalities, irritation, changes in size, or discoloration of breasts that can potentially lead to breast cancer.
Every woman should perform a self-check of breasts once a month. The menstruating woman can perform the exam after periods. This is considered a good time as the breasts are not tender and lumpy at this time of the monthly cycle. The ones who have stopped menstruating or have irregular periods can pick a particular day of the month to do the self-exam. It can be the start of the month, end of the month, or simply any date that can be easily remembered.
A breast self-exam is an easy procedure and it hardly takes a few minutes and thus can be done while undressing at night, taking a shower, or lying in bed.
How to perform the exam?
There are a couple of easy ways to self-examine the breasts – Visual inspection and Manual inspection.
Visual Breast Examination
With your clothes and bra removed stand in front of the mirror. Stand straight with both your arms down now closely look for any visible changes in the size of the breast, discoloration of nipples, breast swelling, or dimpling
Secondly, raise your arms high overhead and detect a similar change.
Third, Place both the hands on your hips and press firmly until the chest muscles flex. Look for similar changes again in both the breasts.
Manual Breast Examination
Manual inspection is a comparatively effective way to conduct self-check. With your clothes and bra removed use your right hand to check your left breast and vice versa. Use the pads of your three fingers to press on every part of one breast changes the pressure from the light, medium to firm. Feel any thick spots, lumps, and other changes. Move your fingers clockwise around the breast now gently press the tissue under the arms to look for any changes there. After this squeeze, the nipples gently check the discharge and notice any discoloration around them.
Repeat the same steps for another breast.
When to see a doctor?
Post conducting the self-examination of breasts if you notice any of the below-mentioned changes immediately report to your doctor –
- Changes in look, size, and color of the breasts
- Changes in look, size, and color of the nipples.
- Dark-colored patches around the breasts or nipples.
- Thick spot, hard knot, or lump on breast tissue.
- Pain in some parts of the breast tissue.
- Rashes on nipples or breasts
- Swelling on one or both the breasts.
- Inward pulling of the nipple or other areas.
A regular monthly self-examination of breasts can detect any possible problem at an early stage and thus makes the treatment easier and effective. Though self-examinations are important, these should not replace screening tests such as ultrasounds and mammograms recommended by doctors. Also, regular visits to the gynecologist is always a good practice.
Also Read: How these Celebrities Braved Breast Cancer
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