How to Check for Breast Cancer
Since so many people are affected by breast cancer each year, it is important to know how to check for signs. Doing weekly or monthly self-examinations for breast cancer can ensure early detection and successful treatment.
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To complete a simple breast self-exam, make sure you follow these steps.
The first step is to stand in front of a mirror and look at your breasts, standing with your shoulders straight and hands on your hips. While examining your breasts, it is important to verify that your breasts are their usual shape, size, and color. They should be evenly shaped without swelling. Look for changes such as dimpling, bulging, puckering, redness, soreness, rashes, or nipples that are pushed inward or have changed position.
Once you’ve done that, raise your arms up over your head and check for the same disparities again. Look to see that no fluid is being released from your nipples. This can include milky, watery, or yellow fluid or blood.
Lying Down Self-Exam
After checking your breasts while standing, you will want to check them while lying down. Lie down on the floor, bed or other flat, firm surface. Use your left hand to feel your right breast and right hand to feel your left breast. Using a firm touch, use the first 3 finger pads of your hand and keep them flat and together as you do so. Use a circular motion, approximately the size of a quarter, and cover the breast from top to bottom and side to side. Also, inspect from the top of your abdomen to your collarbone and from your cleavage to your armpit.
Make sure you cover the whole breast and move in large circles, beginning at the nipple and leading to the outer edge of the breast. Alternatively, you can move your fingers up and down in a vertical direction, in rows, like mowing your lawn. Feel all breast tissue from the back to the front of your breasts. For skin and tissue just beneath it, you can use light pressure. For tissue in the middle of your breasts, implement medium pressure and use firm pressure for deep tissue in the back. At deep tissue pressure, you should be able to feel down to your ribcage.
Standing or Sitting Self-Exam
For the last step, feel your breasts while standing or sitting. It may be easiest to do this in the shower as water will add some slip and make the circular motions easier. Follow the previous steps you did while you were lying down, but do the process standing or sitting now.
After your self-examination, you should have some peace of mind where breast cancer is concerned. If you feel or see any irregularities, make an appointment to see your doctor right away.
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