A self-check is easy to do and it could save your life.
Breast cancer is something that many women think about. Either you’ve had it and recovered, you’re going through it, or you have a family member or friend who is facing it head on.
Women are always encouraged by medical professionals to do a periodic self-examination for breast cancer, but not everyone does it. Why? Nerves and a lack of knowledge are some of the most common barriers to getting it done.
Here’s the deal: naturally, you can’t be forced to feel reassured and confident when faced with the idea of doing a breast self-examination. (We know you can do a good job, though).
You can, however, power up with some tips on how to do it and hope that you’ll feel more comfortable giving it a try.
How the heck do you do it? Here are some easy steps to follow, according to Breast Cancer.org:
1) Put Your Hands on Your Hips
Look at yourself in the mirror. Put your hands on your hips and keep your shoulders back. Do your breast look normal?
Do you see any abnormal shapes, color, swelling or distortion? If so, make an appointment with your doctor. If everything looks balanced and round, great.
2) Put Your Arms Up
Raise your arms in the air. Look for the same things as you did in #1.
3) Look for Fluids
Are there any fluids coming out of your nipples? If there’s watery, milky, yellowish or bloody liquid present, talk to your doctor about it.
4) Lie Down
This is the part that comes to mind for most people, when it comes to breast exams. It’s also what a doctor will perform on you in a routine breast exam.
Lie down on a bed and raise one arm up by your ear. Use the other hand to run your fingers in small circles over your breast, or up and down. You want to cover a large area.
Run your fingers from your collarbone down to the top of your abdomen, and from your armpit over to your cleavage.
5) Use Various Pressures
To detect any problems at various levels in your tissue, you’ll want to apply differing pressure. Where you can, you should be able to feel all the way down to your rib cage.
6) Do the Same Thing Standing Up
To really do a thorough check, do the same as you did in #4 and #5, but standing up. In or out of the shower works well.
Experts recommend doing the self-exam once a month, and performing it in the middle of your cycle- about 7 to 10 days after your period starts. This is when your breasts tend to be the least lumpy, and when you’ll be less likely to come across a false alarm.
For more tips and explanations, click here.
Photo credits: Kirisa99/Bigstock; MrCat/Bigstock