Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in women. Lately, there has been a rising trend of breast cancer in younger females. As prevention of breast cancer is a difficult task, experts opine that breast cancer awareness is the way to go. The motto of breast cancer awareness is to educate females about self-examination of the breast. The simple five-step technique can evade a lot of suffering of a full-blown breast cancer.
Steps for self-examination of the breast:
- Uncover your upper body till the waist. Stand in front of a big mirror. Place your hands on the hip and straighten the shoulder. Now carefully look at your breasts for their usual shape,size and colour. Breasts are normally evenly shaped with no visible swelling or distortions.Most women do not have both breasts of the same size and shape. So do not worry about that. What you should look for and report is bulging of skin, dimpling or puckering of skin.Check whether the nipple has changed position. If the nipple is pushed inwards or there is redness, soreness or swelling of the breast skin, consult a doctor.
- Next step is to raise your arms up and look for the same changes while still in front of the mirror.
- Now, have a look at both of your nipples and check whether there is some fluid oozing out.The fluid could be watery, milky, yellow or blood-stained. This is an alarming sign, as normally there is no discharge from the nipples.
- Next, lie down on a couch with upper body uncovered. Use your right hand to feel the left breast and vice versa. Keep the finger flat and together and use the first few finger pads of your hands to feel the breast. With a firm and smooth touch, move the hand in circular motion covering a small portion of the breast at a time. Continue to examine in this fashion and cover entire breast from collar bone to top of abdomen and cleavage to armpits.Follow a pattern and make sure you feel the entire breast. Beginning at the nipples, you can move your hand in larger circles to the outer edge of the breast. Alternatively, you can move your hand up and down vertically in rows.Use light pressure for tissue beneath the skin and medium pressure on the middle part ofthe breast. As you reach the deeper tissue near the ribcage, use firm pressure to feel the breast. Follow the steps for both breasts.
- Finally, feel your both breasts in a similar way as above in a sitting or standing position. You may choose to do it as you shower if the wet and slippery texture of the skin comforts you.A stitch in time saves nine! If you are in your thirties or forties, this is a must for you.
Self-examine your breast once a month, well after your periods are done. If you notice any changes, report to a gynaecologist soon.