Hey guys! I’m sure you already know that October is the official month of breast cancer and so in the spirit of awareness, I’ll be sharing some information about breast cancer and most importantly early detection. This post is a bit lengthy but I just need you to stick with me till the end.
Breast cancer is cancer that develops from breast tissue. Certain conditions have been documented to increase the risk of developing breast cancer. Some of them include: female sex, obesity, lack of physical exercise, drinking alcohol, hormone replacement therapy during menopause, ionizing radiation, early age at first menstruation, having children late or not at all, and older age. About 5–10% of cases are due to genes inherited from a person’s parents, including BRCA1 and BRCA2 among others.
Breast self-exam (BSE), or regularly examining your breasts on your own, is an important way to find a breast cancer early, when it’s more likely to be treated successfully. It is advisable to make BSE an essential part of your monthly health care routine, and you should visit your doctor if you experience any breast changes.
If you’re over 40 or at a high risk for the disease, you should also have an annual mammogram and physical exam by a doctor. The earlier breast cancer is found and diagnosed, the better your chances of beating it.
HOW TO SELF-EXAMINE YOUR BREASTS.
STEP 1: Begin by looking at your breasts in the mirror with your shoulders straight and your arms on your hips. Here’s what you should look for:
– Breasts that are their usual size, shape, and color
-Breasts that are evenly shaped without visible distortion or swelling
If you see any of the following changes, bring them to your doctor’s attention:
1) Dimpling, puckering, or bulging of the skin.
2) A nipple that has changed position or an inverted nipple (pushed inward instead of sticking out).
3) Redness, soreness, rash, or swelling.
STEP 2: Now, raise your arms and look for the same changes .
STEP 3: While you’re at the mirror, look for any signs of fluid coming out of one or both nipples (this could be a watery, milky, yellow fluid or blood).
STEP 4: Next, feel your breasts while lying down, using your right hand to feel your left breast and then your left hand to feel your right breast. Use a firm, smooth touch with the first few finger pads of your hand, keeping the fingers flat and together. Use a circular motion, about the size of a quarter.
Cover the entire breast from top to bottom, side to side — from your collarbone to the top of your abdomen, and from your armpit to your cleavage.
Follow a pattern to be sure that you cover the whole breast. You can begin at the nipple, moving in larger and larger circles until you reach the outer edge of the breast. You can also move your fingers up and down vertically, in rows, as if you were mowing a lawn. This up-and-down approach seems to work best for most women.
Be sure to feel all the tissue from the front to the back of your breasts: for the skin and tissue just beneath, use light pressure; use medium pressure for tissue in the middle of your breasts; use firm pressure for the deep tissue in the back. When you’ve reached the deep tissue, you should be able to feel down to your ribcage.
STEP 5: Finally, feel your breasts while you are standing or sitting. Many women find that the easiest way to feel their breasts is when their skin is wet and slippery, so they like to do this step in the shower. Cover your entire breast, using the same hand movements described in step 4.
Join in the war against breast cancer in our society. Awareness plays a major role in this fight and it’s the least we can do. Do your bit and share this post with the women you cherish. Women lives matter!