A stitch in time saves nine, and early detection saves lives! While breast self-exams at home can’t replace a medical check-up, they’re still very useful in finding any abnormalities or changes to your bust.
Did you know 40% of diagnosed breast cancer cases are from women who detected a lump at home?
So here’s how to get started, what to do, what’s normal, and the next steps to take if you notice anything! Are you ready?
Step 1: Take a long look
Buckle up, and get comfortable darling. It’s in your breast interest to be familiar with how your bust looks normally.
Step 1 is visual, so get in front of a mirror, undress, and start observing. Keep your hands at your sides and then clasp them above your head to look at your breasts at different angles. Look for any changes in contour, swelling or dimpling of skin, or any differences around the nipple, especially if it’s in just one of the breasts.
Step 2: Feel around
Check yourself, and don’t ignore the warning signs. Step 2 involves thoroughly touching your bust and feeling around – do it for your body that loves you the breast.
You can do this step either standing up in the shower or lying down with a pillow under the breast you’re checking. Use the pads of your fingers (not just the tips) to thoroughly feel around, and with different levels of pressure. Press down all around the breasts and under your armpits in a methodical pattern and make sure to squeeze the nipples to check for any discharge. You should be looking out for any lumps, thickening, hardening, or knots at this step.
Symptoms of breast cancer
Tl:dr – If you’re looking directly for the symptoms of breast cancer, here are the ones from above in more detail.
• A constant pain in the armpit or one part of the breast
• A change in colour, with the breasts looking red or inflamed
• Dimples, puckers, bulges or ridges on the skin
• Flaky skin, itchiness, sores or rash
• Nipple becoming irregular in shape or sinking into the breast
• Unusual discharge from one or both of the nipples
Noticed anything? Make an appointment with the doctor for further check-up immediately. And if you’re not too sure, mammography can detect tumours before they’re felt too.
What to do, when
A breast self-exam should be conducted at least once a month for best results. If you do find a lump or show any of the other symptoms, make an appointment with the doctor – but it isn’t the end of the world!
8 out of 10 lumps are not cancerous and can be easily removed. Breast cancer itself is also fully treatable if caught at the early stages, so make sure to get regularly screened as well. Do your breast for your breasts!