Tips for performing Breast self-Examination
Breast self examination can be frustrating to some women as they can feel things but do not know what they mean. However, However, the more you examine your breasts, the more you will learn about them and the easier it will become for you to tell if something unusual has occurred. Training yourself how your breasts normally feel is essential. In case you are not sure or have concerns that your breasts have changed please report your concerns to your GP for further assessment.
Some tips to help you self examine your breasts:
Self-examine once a month to familiarise yourself with how your breasts normally look and feel. Examination is recommended a few days after your period ends when your breasts are least likely to be swollen and tender. If you are no longer having periods, choose a day that's easy to remember, such as the first or last day of the month.
Examine your breast while lying down and standing in front of a mirror .
when performing breast self examination, always look for any skin changes such as redness or inflammation, dimpling or tethering. Look for asymmetry and nipple changes (retraction or eczema change). Report nipple discharge to your doctor as it may need to be investigated .
Breasts tend to have normal lumpiness depending on the distribution of the glandular tissue, the area near your armpit and behind the nipple and areola tend to be normally lumpy as most of the glandular tissue in the breast is found in these areas. So it is essential that you learn how different areas in your breasts feel and remember to report any new change to your doctor.
in a room that has good lighting , look at both breasts first. look for skin and nipple changes as mentioned above, then with your fingertips joined together feel both breasts while standing and lying down, feeling the breast can be done in a circular motion. Remember that the breast extends up to the collar bone and across into the armpit so examine these areas too.
Taking a few minutes every month to check your breasts can save your life
Breast self-examination can be an important way to find a breast cancer early, when it's more likely to be treated successfully. Not every cancer can be found this way, but it is an essential step you can and should take for yourself. Breast self examination is believed to be useful and essential screening strategy, especially when used in combination with regular physical exams by a doctor and mammography.
It is important to know how your breast is built so you can identify changes. Each breast contains 15 to 20 lobes arranged in a circular fashion. The fat that covers the lobes gives the breast its size and shape. Each lobe is comprised of many lobules, at the end of which are tiny bulb like glands, or sacs, where milk is produced in response to hormonal signals. Ducts connect the lobes, lobules, and glands. These ducts deliver milk to openings in the nipple. The areola is the darker-pigmented area around the nipple.
Mo Salhab MD, MRCS, MS, PG Dip, FRCS
Oncoplastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Breast Surgeon