More than seventy percent of women have reported having undergone mammography screening to detect breast cancer. However, despite the increased use of testing, a large percentage of women have been able to identify breast cancer by themselves.
But should you do a breast self-exam? Medical groups don’t agree on that. You can ask your doctor for advice on whether it would be helpful for you.
What Is A Breast Self-Exam?
Breast self-exam is a way breast for symptoms that are highly associated with breast cancer. These may include things such as lumps and thickening of the breast or even discharge of fluids through the nipples.
If you notice something unusual on your breast, it is essential that you notify your doctor though in most cases those signs may not necessarily predict the existence of cancer
How Do I Do A Breast Self-Exam?
If you choose to do a self-test on your breast to look for pre-cancerous lesions, here are the simple steps to follow:
Perform a visual exam in the mirror.
- One way to look for problems with your breasts is to look for variations in their appearance. Stand before your mirror undressed. Place your hands on your hips. Press confidently down on your hips to engage the muscles, which will help you notice changes. Take note of any redness or scaling of the skin and nipples, any changes to the size, contour, or shape, and any dimpling or puckering to the area.
- Check your nipples for discharge fluid. Place your thumb and forefinger on the tissue surrounding the nipple and pull outward toward the end of the nipple. Look for any discharge. Repeat on your other breast.
- Check your nipples and look for any sores, peeling, or change in their direction.
- Lie down on your bed or couch with your right arm lifted above your head. Using your left hand, feel around your right breast. Start under your right armpit and press down gently. This will aid feeling the first stratum of tissue beneath your breast.
- Make small circles using your three middle fingers. Use the pads of your fingers and not your fingertips.
- Move your finger circles up and down around the breast tissue, use some kind of pattern you make while mowing a lawn until you cover the whole breast and underarm area.
- Place your fingers flat and directly on top of your nipple. Feel below the nipples for any changes. Press your nipples inwards in a gentle manner. It should move easily.
- Repeat the above steps on your other breast. Don’t forget to check the upper, outer area of the chest, nearest to the armpit.
Contact Your Doctor.
After performing the above tests, it’s essential that you contact your doctor when you notice the following:
- Part of your breast area is different from any other area on either breast.
- A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm that lasts through your menstrual cycle.
- A change in the size or shape of the breast.
- A marble-like area under the skin.
- Difference in the appearance of the skin on the breast or nipple (dimpled, puckered, scaly, or inflamed)
- If you notice blood or clear fluids discharged from your nipples.