Breast cancer is the leading cancer death among women in Pakistan. It’s always very important to know your breasts. Self examination is the key to early detection when it comes to breast cancer. It is crucial to get mammography done by a trained doctor every year. This helps monitor any changes and detect possible cancer in the early stages – where it is curable.
Self examination is an easy technique that should be utilized by both men and women to examine their breasts every month
Step 1: Stare at your boobs
Stand in front of a mirror with your arms to the side and stare at your boobs. You should always know exactly what your breasts look like and look for any changes in size, shape, or color. Compare one boob to the other (it’s totally natural if one is bigger than the other) but look for any significant changes in size.
Signs of worry include: rashes, redness, dimpling of the skin, change of vein patterns, or a change in texture. It’s also important to study your nipples – any physical changes such as scales, a change of position, inwards pushing of the nipple, or itchiness. If you see anything out of the normal – always bring it to your doctor’s attention.
Step 2: Stare from different angles
Still standing in front of the mirror, raise your arms and look for the same changes. Then place your hands on your hips, hunch over, and study your breasts again for the same changes.
Step 3: Look for signs of fluid that shouldn’t be there
Check your nipples for discharge fluid. Place your thumb and forefinger on the skin around the nipple and pull outwards to the end of the nipple. Look for any discharge – this could be a watery, milky, or yellow fluid or even blood. Repeat on your other breast.
Step 4: Feel your boobs while laying down
Lay down on a flat surface. Place your right hand on your forehead with your palm up. Starting with the outer half of your right breast, use the pads of three fingers to make circular motions using gentle pressure . Think of your breast as a clock – start at 12 and go clockwise in small circular motions. Keep your fingers flat and in constant contact with your breast. When the circle is complete, move to the inner half of the breast towards the nipple and complete another circle around the clock.
Continue until you’ve felt the entire breast top to bottom and side to side — from your collarbone to your armpit and back to your cleavage. Repeat with your left breast.
If you don’t like the circular approach you can also try vertical movements. Move your fingers up and down vertically in rows using light pressure, covering the area from your collarbone to your lower abdomen and then moving over to cover the area by your nipples.
If you feel any of the following consult your doctor, at your earliest:
- any area that is different from the rest of the breast
- marble or orange peel like texture
Step 5: Feel your boobs while sitting and standing
For the final step, feel your breasts while you are standing or sitting. The main focus is to make sure you cover your entire breast.
You MUST do this every month.
Cover image via: indianexpress.com