This breast cancer awareness month do a self-breast examination
There has been some debate over the years about how effective breast self-examination is in detecting breast cancer early and increasing the likelihood of survival. A 2008 study of nearly 400,000 women in Russia and China, for example, found that breast self-examination has no effect on breast cancer survival rates and may even be harmful by prompting unnecessary biopsies (removal and examination of suspicious tissue). Because of the ongoing uncertainty raised by this and other studies, the American Cancer Society no longer recommends breast self-examination as a screening tool for women at average risk of breast cancer.
To do self-examination you just need to follow these 5 simple steps :
Step 1: Begin by looking in the mirror at your breasts with your shoulders straight and your arms on your hips.
Step 2: Raise your arms and look for the same variations.
Step 3: While you’re looking in the mirror, check for any signs of fluid leaking from one or both nipples (this could be a watery, milky, or yellow fluid or blood).
Step 4: Lie down and feel your breasts, first with your right hand on your left breast and then with your left hand on your right breast. Keep your fingers flat and together while applying a firm, smooth touch to the first few finger pads of your hand. Apply a circular motion the size of a quarter.
Make a pattern to ensure that you cover the entire breast. Begin at the nipple and work your way outward in larger and larger circles until you reach the outer edge of the breast. You can also move your fingers vertically in rows as if you were mowing the lawn. This up-and-down approach appears to work best for the majority of women. Make sure to feel all the tissue from the front to the back of your breasts: light pressure for the skin and tissue just beneath, medium pressure for the tissue in the middle of your breasts, and firm pressure for the deep tissue in the back. You should be able to feel down to your ribcage once you’ve reached the deep tissue.
Step 5: Finally, while standing or sitting, feel your breasts. Many women find that feeling their breasts is easiest when their skin is wet and slippery, so they prefer to do this step in the shower. Using the same hand movements as in step 4, cover your entire breast.
Don’t be alarmed if you suspect you have a lump in your breast. Most women have lumps or lumpy areas in their breasts all the time, and the majority of breast lumps are benign (not cancer). Non-cancerous breast lumps can be caused by a variety of factors, including normal hormonal changes, a benign breast condition, or an injury. If you notice a lump or other new and concerning breast change, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor. This is especially true for changes that last longer than one menstrual cycle or appear to grow larger or more noticeable in some way. If you menstruate, you should wait until after your period to see if the lump or other breast change goes away on its own before contacting your doctor. The best healthcare provider to contact is someone who knows you and has previously performed a breast exam on you, such as your gynecologist, primary care doctor, or a nurse practitioner who works with your gynecologist or primary care doctor.
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