The Importance of Regular Self Breast Exams
According to statistics from BreastCancer.org, one in eight women, or 12%, in the U.S. will develop invasive breast cancer in their lifetime. This year, the estimated number expected for diagnosis is 232,670 new cases of invasive breast cancer. With these two facts, all women should learn how to do a self-breast exam and this article shows you how to do that, just to be on the safe side.
Some women think that a breast self-exam is a stressful way to find out the condition in which their breasts are but if you get right down to it, such an exam can actually help in keeping tabs on a woman’s breast health. The main reason why these women think of it that way is because they don’t know how and those who think they do often do it incorrectly.
When and how to do a self breast exam
Around three to five days after your period has started is the best time for you to do a breast exam on yourself because your breasts will not be as lumpy or tender at such a time in your usual monthly cycle. If you have already been through menopause, you can do the exam on a monthly basis but always on the same day. Here is the step-by-step guide:
1. Lay on your back because this will make it easier for you to examine all the breast tissues if you are in such a position.
2. Put your right hand behind the middle of your head and gently press your left hand’s middle fingers down. Make small motions in examining the entire breast.
3. If you don’t feel any unusual bumps, stand or sit and feel your armpit since the breast tissue goes into this area.
4. Squeeze your nipple gently to check for discharge. Repeat this process on your breast.
5. After this, stand in front of a full length mirror and put your arms at your sides. Look directly in the mirror at your breasts for changes like dimpling or puckering.
6. Observe if your skin has any textural changes such as indentations or the appearance of an orange peel.
7. Note the outline and shape of each of your breast for any irregularities and if either or both nipples are turned inwards.
8. Repeat the same procedure with arms raised above the head. Remember to go through all the steps to ensure that you didn’t miss any spot.
Remember that most women will have lumps at some point in their lives and not all of these will be malignant. The goal of learning how to check for lumps in the breast is to be aware of anything that is new or different in this area of your anatomy. If, however, you suspect something is not quite right in spite of your exam, go to your doctor immediately.
If you are not confident in your abilities to perform the check yourself, Plexus offers a kit which can magnify your ability to check for lumps in your breasts.
Some women, however, prefer an exam that doesn’t rely solely on their own hands and fingers meaning. This is where the Plexus Breast Check Kit comes in handy. The kit is made of two layers of micro-thin polyurethane sealed in between by a non-toxic lubricant.
Placed on the breast, the bottom layer adheres to the skin gently even as it remains stable. This feature allows the upper layer to freely slide underneath your fingers and friction is significantly reduced when said upper layer freely slides over the bottom layer, resulting in “sensory touch magnification” and improvement of this same sense of touch enhances the breast exam itself.
Self-Examination is Easy and Convenient
Knowing how to self-check for breast cancer can be crucial in the detection of early or first stage breast cancer. While you may need a biopsy later on should you detect an unusual growth, swelling, tenderness or pain in the breast areas, a self-exam can save you a lot of time and stress since this will prompt you to move and get a more thorough testing of your condition.
Learning how to check for breast cancer is an easy way to detect irregularities in your breasts that may or may not be cancerous. It is also convenient because it can be done in the comfort and privacy of your own bathroom. Using the Plexus kit will help you get familiarized not only with what is the normal consistency of your breasts but their underlying tissues as well.