Cancer is an uncontrolled growth of cells in the body. Cells are basic structural and functional units of the body: the core part of the visible organs and systems of the body. Because cancer simply means uncontrolled growth in terms of size and number, different cells of the body can be affected. Cancer is a major public health concern, and breast cancer is one of those cancers most commonly diagnosed in women.
Since cancer can spread and grow with time, early detection is important in its management. Breast self-examination is one of those ways of detecting breast cancer early and getting the needed help. Research has shown that, although there are concerns about breast self-examination and its effectiveness in managing cancer, it is important for one to be familiar with their breasts being able to tell minor changes as they occur.
The steps for breast self-examination are covered in this article.
Breast self-examination include both observing changes by sight and by touch. By touch, one will be able to feel lumps, and by sight, one will be able to tell changes such as skin dimpling, inverted nipples and skin blistering.
Standing before a mirror, the first step of breast self-exam is to examine the breast for any changes. These changes include fluid from the nipples, skin blistering and skin dimpling amongst others. The establishment of intimacy with one’s breast is important in telling these changes as they come. Any change or suspected change should be reported to a doctor. Because of the monthly changes which the body of women goes through, several days after periods are great days for breast self-exams. Breast changes should be examined both with hands on one’s sides and raised.
The second step of a breast self-exam is to examine the breasts by touch while lying down. Examine the left breast with the right hand, and the right breast with the left hand. With the fingers together as a touchpad, examine the breast tissue entirely with up and down movements and side-by-side movements.
While examining the breast by touch, it is important to cover all of its aspects and establish a pattern to ensure that every section of the breast is covered. It is also important to maintain a firm and soft touch during the examination changing the pressure as necessary for the different body tissues: light pressure for those in front, medium pressure for those farther away and high pressure for the deep tissue. This step examines the breast for lumps and other changes that can be felt.
Finally, carry out the previous step again: this time standing. As before, examine the right breast with the left hand and the left breast with the right hand. Also, establish a pattern and follow it in ensuring that all body tissues are covered.
Changes in the breast can be due to other reasons but cancer. The best way to find out the cause of a change is to observe them and report them to a doctor.
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