Breast self-exam and cancer risk

Without any doubts, breast self-exam is important and very helpful in detecting any signs of disease or cancer. Any woman must be aware that cancer risk can be lowered by maintaining the overall health of the body and following a healthy lifestyle. It is always easier to prevent than treat, reason why any woman should know how to take care of her bosom and self-exam breasts to lower cancer risk.

Do you take proper care of your breasts?

Breast self-exam is significant because it helps you to know how your breasts normally feel and look so you can notice any changes as soon as they occur. Women over 20 years old should begin doing a breast self-exam every month, about 3-5 days after the menstrual period ends. The hormone fluctuations throughout every month will cause changes in breasts size and texture because the glands in the chest enlarge to prepare for a possible pregnancy. Lumps might appear in this period, but in case if pregnancy does not occur, bosom will return to normal size and texture.

You should take proper care of your breasts and perform a breast self-exam each month. In case if you are worried because of the appearance of lumps or unusual thickenings, you should contact your health care provider and make sure that you are perfectly healthy. The lumps you feel might be just normal glands, but you should check and detect any health problems in the early stages, if there is any.

How to perform the breast self-exam

A proper breast self-exam should be performed in three stages: in front of the mirror, in the shower and while lying down. When you are in front of the mirror, stand undressed and relax to notice if there is any change in shape, size or position. Check the skin for any sores, dimpling, puckering or discoloration. Inspect the nipples and look if there is any peeling, sores or change in their direction. Then press your hands on your hips and tighten the chest muscles to notice any modifications from the outer parts of the bosom.

While still standing in front of the mirror, roll the elbows and shoulders to tighten the muscles and notice any possible change in the contour or shape of chest. Lift your chest with the arms and check the border underneath the bosom. Clasp the hands behind your head and press them forward then inspect the nipples for discharge. You can do that by pulling it outward toward its end using the forefinger and thumb.

When you are in the shower, focus on the underarm area. Use soap and water to make your hands slippery and check for lumps or thickenings on this particular area. Raise one arm behind your head and gently press the fingers of the other hand on the bosom, moving up and down from bra line to collarbone.

If you lie down on your back, place a pillow under the right shoulder and the right hand behind the head. Keep the fingers of the left hand together and flat and press them gently on the upper portion of the right breast. Use body lotion and move the left hand in circular motions around the entire breast, without interrupting the contact with skin. Maintain the same circular motion while moving one inch toward the nipple and make sure you cover the entire area of your chest. Check for any modifications and gently press the nipples inwards to observe if it moves easily.

A proper breast self-exam will only take a few minutes. In case if you find any lumps, inform your health care provider and check your bosom by performing a mammography. Most lumps appear due to normal changes in breast tissue that occur during development. But in case if the lump does not go away after your period, you should make an appointment and consult your doctor. Lumps can be benign or malign and the sooner you check it, the easier will be to treat it and eliminate it.

Do not ignore any thickening or change in breast size, shape or texture. The sooner you check and diagnose any early sign of disease, the easier will be to prevent or combat it. Undertake a breast self-exam each month and make sure you reduce cancer risk!


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