The Importance of Self Breast Examination

May 02, 2019

The Importance of Self Breast ExaminationIf 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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