Early detection is the best prevention for breast cancer
Early detection provides the greatest possibility of the successful treatment of breast cancer. Early detection includes doing monthly breast self-exams, and scheduling regular clinical breast exams and mammograms. Here are three steps to increase your chance of early detection:
Breast self-examination: Despite your age, do a self-examination at least once a month. Up to 40% of breast cancers have been detected early by women who felt a lump during self-examinations. While mammograms can help you to detect cancer before you can feel a lump, breast self-exams help you to be familiar with how your breasts look and feel so that you can inform your doctor of any changes that you notice.
A breast self-exam should be performed lying down. When lying down, the breast tissue spreads out evenly along the chest wall. Place a pillow under your right shoulder and your right hand behind your head. Using your left hand, move the pads of your three middle fingers around your right breast gently in small circular motions covering the entire breast area, up to the armpit. Followed with an up and down motion. Use light, medium, and firm pressure. Squeeze the nipple, check for discharge and lumps. Repeat these steps again for the left breast.
Checks in-front of the mirror: Visually inspect your breasts with your arms at your sides. Now, raise your arms high overhead.
Check for any changes in contour, swelling, dimpling of the skin, or changes in the nipples. Next, rest your palms on your hips and press firmly to flex your chest muscles. Your left and right breasts will not match exactly, so look for any dimpling, puckering, or changes, particularly on one side only.
Checks in the shower: Using the pads of your fingers, move around your entire breast in a circular pattern moving from the outside to the centre, checking the entire breast and armpit area. Check both breasts each month for any lump, thickening or hardened knot. Should you notice any changes get evaluated by your healthcare provider.