Breast cancer is one of the most prevalent forms of cancer globally. With the increasing number of people (mostly women), being affected by it; it is important to regularly monitor your breasts. Self-breast examination is an inspection you do on your own self for any changes you might see or feel in your breast. This can be a visible change in the appearance of the nipple or breast i.e. size and shape, or a non-visible change like lump, discharge, or skin thickening.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to do a breast self-exam:
Stand in front of the mirror and check for any visual changes around your breast, collarbone and underarm area. Here is a list of few things you might want to keep a lookout for:
- Visible red spots
- Enlarged breast size
- Changes in skin texture such as dimpling or indent
- Nipple appearance i.e. inward nipple
- Fluid discharge
If you see any abnormalities in the appearance of your breast, it is a good idea to refer to a doctor and clear your queries. While most breast changes are not cancerous, it is always better to be cautious.
Moving forward, appearance is not just the only thing that needs monitoring. Check for any hard knots or thickening of the skin around your breast area.
Sleep on a straight surface. Join your fingers straight and flat. Move your fingers softly and in circular motions. Follow a pattern and make sure you’re covering the entire breast – from top to bottom, and areas around it. Find out what works best for you; upward to downward, left to right. Adjust pressures according to your own ease.
Repeat the same steps while standing, on both your breasts. Do not forget your armpit area.
Pro-tip: It is a good idea to give yourself a quick breast check when in shower! It is easier to examine your breasts while your body is wet, as it smoothens out your skin and lets you move your hand swiftly across the area.
Why is self-examination important?
Self-examination is a way you can connect to your body and know it better. Remember that these changes can be alarming but does not always mean breast cancer. Lumps can be non-cancerous and benign while certain differences in your breast appearance can be due to hormonal changes etc. However, early detection can help gauge medical complications later. It is better to be cautious and refer to a medical health professional for thorough evaluation when you see any noticeable difference in your breasts.
Direct your medical concerns to San Ramon Urgent Care & Clinic. Our expert medical team is ready to address your problems and assist you in best possible ways. Need to book an appointment? Call us on (925) 361-5959.