Are you looking for more information on how to do a breast self-exam?
If so, you have come to the right place. Breast cancer is one of the leading cancers among American women, and because it is so prevalent it is extremely important that all women have regular checkups completed by their physicians. While regular checkups are important, it is also recommended that every woman learn to conduct their own breast exams, so that if there are any signs of breast cancer, they can be caught at an early stage.
Why is doing a breast self-exam important?
Conducting your own self-breast exam is important because knowing how your breasts look and feel will help you to detect any changes more easily. Breast cancer can sometimes be detected through symptoms such as breast lumps or swelling, skin irritation, skin dimpling, nipple pain, redness, and discharge from the nipple. Knowing your body and noticing any changes will give you the opportunity to catch breast cancer at its earliest stages.
To conduct your own breast exam, lay down on a flat surface and place your right arm behind your head. It is very important that you do this test laying down, not standing up.
Because when you are laying down, your breast tissue will spread evenly over your chest wall, thinning it out, and making it easier for you to feel all of the tissue.
Once you are lying down and have your right hand behind your head, use your three middle fingers (of your left hand) and feel for lumps on your right breast. When doing this, be sure to feel for lumps using small circular motions.
When conducting your breast exam, you will want to use three different pressure levels. Begin by checking your breast with light pressure. This will allow you to feel the tissue that is closest to your skin. Next, apply medium pressure to feel deeper. Finally, use a harder pressure to allow yourself to feel the tissue closest to your chest, and farthest from your skin. To conduct a thorough exam, be sure to check every area of the breast using small circular motions. Once you have finished examining your right breast, place your left hand behind your head, and complete the same exam on your left breast (using your right hand).
When conducting a breast exam, you will not only want to feel for changes, but you will also want to look for changes. To do this, stand in front of a mirror, placing your hands on your hips. Check your breasts regularly for any changes in shape or size. Also be sure to check for any dimpling, redness, or discharge from the nipple.
If you experience anything that you feel may be abnormal during your self-examination, be sure to contact your doctor immediately. They will be able to conduct a more thorough examination to help determine whether any changes in your breast could be cancerous.
Finally, remember that while conducting regular self-examinations is helpful, it is not enough. Be sure to have a complete check-up completed by your doctor at least once a year. Doing so will ensure that, if you are to develop breast cancer, you can catch it at its earliest stages.