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How to examine yourself for breast cancer at home?

by Stella

Breast cancers can be both emotionally, physically, and financially draining. It can be a traumatic experience, to the individual and the family as well. But did you know that breast cancers are one of the most curable cancers when detected early. And breast cancer detected can be done comfortably at your home.

What is a breast cancer self exam?

Breast cancer self exam is a self performing step by step process performed to examine your breasts. This test can be performed by looking or feeling your breasts. Usually people with breast cancer can notice visible changes in their breasts. Although the best way to diagnose breast cancer is mammogram, the breast self exam works perfectly to identify or detect breast cancer at home. There are several stages of breast cancer, detecting them at an early stage is ideal for recovery.

Why should you perform a breast cancer self exam?

Frequent breast cancer self exams are an ideal way to identify the chances of infections, blood related disorders, or even breast cancer. The ultimate aim of the breast cancer self exam is diagnosing if anything is abnormal with you. Understanding how healthy breasts look is important to know how it looks when it may be abnormal.

Even if breast self examinations are important, you should not ignore the medical diagnostic procedures like mammograms. If you have a family history of breast cancer then it is important to schedule mammograms as recommended by your doctor.

If you want to perform a breast self exam, talking to a breast cancer specialist can help you find the best procedure to perform the self exam.

When should you perform a breast self exam?

The ideal time to perform a breast self exam is when you are comfortable, and at a place where you are not interrupted. The best time that is convenient for you is either before or after taking a shower, where you can change in privacy.

Before your menstrual cycle, the breasts can undergo several changes. Many women tend to experience tender breasts before or right after the period. So it is best to avoid the days for a breast self exam.

Try to do a breast self exam after a couple days of your period as there won’t be any changes to the breasts and you can be free of any pain. Consult for a breast cancer screening in Coimbatore to get expert diagnosis and advanced treatment for breast cancer.

Can you notice breast changes visually?

Breasts are usually covered for the most part, and breast changes cannot be noticed in day-to-day life, so a visual breast self exam is not effective in detecting breast cancer.

How to exam yourself for breast cancer at home?

There are a few types and steps in performing a breast self exam. The most common ones include:

  • Take a look in the mirror:
  • Remove any clothing from the upper body and stand in front of a mirror in a way that your upper body is clearly visible or seen.
  • Place your arms comfortably on either side of the body.
  • Look for the visible signs of changes in the breasts like breast swelling, changes in the shape of breasts, dimpling or crippling of the skin, and even changes in the position of nipples.
  • The next step is to put your hands above the head and look for the similar signs, it is important to check both the breasts.
  • The next step is to place your arms on the hips and firmly press your breasts and check for the same signs as mentioned above.
  • Manual examination of breasts:
  • Remove any of the upper clothing and stand comfortably.
  • Use your left hand to self examine your right breasts and similarly the other hand to check the other breast.
  • Place three fingers on the breasts and gently press your breasts by applying pressure on every part of your breast.
  • You can try applying firm pressure if needed.
  • Check for any breast lumps, or any firm spots in your breasts.
  • Start with a circular motion to ensure no spot is left behind.

Do not ignore the parts under your armpits and squeeze your nipples to check if there is any nipple discharge.

  • Manual breast examination while lying down:
  • It is said that when you lie down, the tissues of the breast are more even and can help in clear diagnosis.
  • Especially if you have larger breasts then this position is ideal for breast self exam.
  • Lie down comfortably, place a pillow behind the right shoulder, and then put your right arm behind your head.
  • Start pressing your breasts with three fingers and cover every part of your breast including the armpits.
  • While self examining your other breast, place the pillow on the other side.

How long does it take to perform a breast self exam?

Usually the breast self-exam does not take much long, it may take a couple of minutes long for the first few times and later on it may take about 3 to 5 minutes.

What are the advantages of performing a breast self exam?

As the name suggests breast self exams are ideal to detect breast cancers early. This helps improve the chances of recovering completely from breast cancers. Early diagnosis improves treatment options and overall survival rate of breast cancers is about 89 to 93%.

Where can we mostly find breast lumps?

If the human breast is divided into four quadrants, the upper right, upper left, lower right, and lower left accordingly. The upper outer quadrant that is much nearer to the armpits is the area that most breast lumps are found. That being said they can be found at any part of the breasts.

What to do if you notice breast lumps or other signs of breast cancer?

First of all don’t panic. Breast lumps or other symptoms that are related to breast cancer may be due to other conditions as well. It is important to get a medical diagnosis before deciding on a condition. And also it’s important to remember that breast self-exam is not the only diagnostic procedure and a breast lump found in a self-exam is not cancer, talk to a breast cancer specialist in Coimbatore to diagnose if the breast lump is cancerous or benign.

Important Takeaway:

Breast self exam is one of the best ways to diagnose breast cancer at an early stage. Early stage detected breast cancer can be treated much efficiently and can improve your chances of complete recovery. Along with breast self exam regularly getting screening for breast cancer from the medical professional is helpful for a much accurate diagnosis.

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