SELF EXAMINATION

In early breast cancer diagnosis, self examination plays a key role. In our country, is most cases of breast cancer are self diagnosed. Regular self examination can drastically reduce breast cancer casualties. 

When does it need to be done? Once a month, between the 5th and the 10th day of your monthly period, because the breasts are softer and less sensitive during those days.

HOW IS IT DONE?

 First, we have to observe our breasts and then feel them.

  • Visual Examination: begin by looking at your breasts in the mirror with your shoulders straight and your arms on the side. Here’s what you should look for: Breasts that are their usual size, shape, and color and breasts that are evenly shaped without visible distortion or swelling. If you see any of the following changes, bring them to your doctor’s attention: Dimpling, puckering, bulging of the skin, A nipple that has changed position or an inverted nipple (pushed inward instead of sticking out), redness, soreness, rash, peau d’orange or swelling.Then, raise your arms and look for the same changes.
  • Touch Examination: while you’re at the mirror, look for any signs of fluid coming out of one or both nipples (this could be a watery, milky, or yellow fluid or blood). Lie down and roll on to your left side to examine your right breast. Place your right hand, palm up on your forehead. Your breast should lie as flat on your chest as possible. It may be easier and more comfortable if you put a pillow behind your shoulder or back. Using the flat pads of your three middle fingers—not the tips—move the pads of your fingers in little circles, about the size of a dime.For each little circle, change the amount of pressure so you can feel ALL levels of your breast tissue. Make each circle three times—once light, once medium, and once deep—before you move on to the next area. Start the circles in your armpit and move down to just below the bra line.Then slide your fingers over—just the width of one finger and move up again. Don’t lift your fingers from your breast as you move them to make sure you feel the entire area. Continue this up-and-down vertical strip pattern—from your collarbone to just below your bra line—until you reach the nipple.Check the INNER HALF of your right breast.When you reach the nipple, remove pillow and roll on to your back, remove your hand from your forehead and place this arm at a right angle (see drawing). Carefully check the nipple area using the same circular pressures as before, without squeezing. Then examine the remaining breast tissue using the up-and-down vertical strip pattern, until you reach the middle of your chest. Place your non-palpating hand down at your side; make a row of circles above and below your collarbone, working from your shoulder to your mid-line. Roll on to your right side and repeat these steps on your left breast, using your right hand. Self examination can also be done in the shower, where it’s easier. It is important for every woman to discuss the self examination techniques with her doctor, during one her visits.

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