The Importance of Self Breast Examination

The Importance of Self Breast ExaminationMay - 2019

If cancer is detected in the early stages, survival chances are high. Especially so with breast cancer! Breast self-exam or checking your breasts regularly can be an important way to detect breast cancer early, and increase the chances of it being treated successfully.

Stages of breast cancer

Stage 0 - Ducal carcinoma – Beginning cancer cells- surrounding tissue not invaded

Stage 1 – Size of tumour – 2 cms – lymph nodes unaffected

Stage 2 – Cancer cells spread to nearby lymph nodes

Stage 3 – Tumour is 5 cms – has spread to surrounding tissue

Stage 4 – Cancer cells invade other organs, like bones, liver, brain, or lungs.

Symptoms of breast cancer

Some of the signs and symptoms of breast cancer include:

  • Change in size of breast
  • Change in shape of breast
  • A lump in the breast
  • A thickened area in breast
  • Change in skin texture
  • Puckering or dimpling around nipples
  • Redness around the nipple
  • Change in position of nipple
  • Discharge from nipple
  • Pain in your breast
  • Pain in the armpit
  • Swelling in the armpit or around your collarbone

Breast self examination

Step 1: Lie down in the bed with a pillow under your right shoulder.

Step 2: Stretch right arm up over your head and rest your head on it.

Step 3: Use the pads of the fingers of your left hand to circle around your right breast.

Step 4: Check entire breast and armpit

Step 5: Squeeze nipple and check for discharge and lumps

Step 6: Roll over and repeat on left breast using right hand.

What should you do if you find a lump?

Don’t get scared. Most often, it can be nothing. There are lumpy areas in the breast all the time. And even if you find a moving lump, it can be benign. There can be a number of reasons for the lumps that include normal hormonal changes, a benign breast condition, or an injury.

But call your doctor and make an appointment because it is better to be safe than sorry. And if you do have a problem, you have detected it early and it can be treated early.

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