This month is Breast Cancer Awareness month and it is estimated that the disease accounts for 15% of all cancers worldwide. But detected early, breast cancer can be eliminated and does not prove fatal. By doing weekly or monthly self-examinations for breast cancer, you can take control and ensure early detection and successful treatment.
To complete a simple breast self-exam, you need to do a visual exam followed by a lying down self-examination. Start by standing in front of a mirror and look at your breasts, standing with your shoulders straight and hands on your hips. While examining your breasts, it is important to verify that your breasts are their usual shape, size, and colour. Search for changes such as dimpling, bulging, puckering, redness, soreness, rashes, or nipples that are pushed inward or have changed position. Once you have done that, raise your arms up over your head and check for the same disparities again. After checking your breasts while standing, you will want to check them while lying down. Lie down on a flat, firm surface. Use your left hand to feel your right breast and vice versa. Using a firm touch, use the first 3 finger pads of your hand and keep them flat and together as you do so. Use a circular motion, approximately the size of a quarter, and cover the breast from top to bottom and side to side. Check the whole breast and move in large circles, beginning at the nipple and leading to the outer edge of the breast. Feel the entire breast tissue from the back to the front of your breasts.
The last step is to check your breasts while standing or sitting. Follow the previous steps you did while you were lying down, but do the process standing or sitting now. After your self-examination, if you have any irregularities, make an appointment to see your doctor immediately who can get you further checked and decide on a treatment plan if necessary.
If you are someone who has recently conquered breast cancer and undergone a mastectomy, you may want to consider breast reconstruction as this procedure can help you to recapture a beautiful cosmetic appearance, as well as a sense of renewed confidence.