It is very important for women to carry out self-breast examination at least once a month. This is a quick guide to show how to do it the right way.
Q: Why should I carry out self-breast examination anyway?
A: You should carry self-breast examination, because then you would be able to spot some of the physical symptoms that may point to the presence of breast cancer for early detection
Q: Is it painful?
A: No, it’s totally painless. Any presence of pain should be reported immediately to your doctor.
Step One: Stand in front of a mirror without any upper clothing on and observe the shape and size of your breasts and nipples. Also observe how the skin on and around the breasts look like. Look out for difference in shape and position of nipple, rash on or around the nipples, difference in breast size and shape from the other, scaling, dimples or rash on the breasts.
Step Two: Use your hands and gently squeeze your breasts, feeling for the presence of lumps or ‘seeds’, and uneven thickness (if a particular part feels thicker than others). Try to be thorough and feel all over your breasts. Also feel for pain.
Step Three: Watch for discharges from the breast, especially when you’re not nursing a child.
Q: I did all these, and I didn’t notice anything. What does it mean?
A: It means you don’t have any physical symptom of breast cancer. Repeat again at least once a month, and see your doctor for a thorough breast examination at least once a year.
Q: I noticed a swelling around my collar bone and in my armpits, but not on my breasts. What does this mean?
A: You should see your doctor as soon as possible for a thorough examination. Those may be signs of breast cancer.
Q: I noticed a discharge from my breasts and I’m not breastfeeding. What does it mean?
A: Please try to see your doctor as soon as possible. Discharge from the breast when you’re not nursing is abnormal and may be a sign of breast cancer.
Q: I noticed a dimple on one of my breasts. Also, it seems one of my breast is bigger than the other. What does it mean?
A: Your breast shape should be symmetrical with no one bigger than the other. Also, there shouldn’t be any uneven thickness on them, and no one should hang differently (lower or higher) from the other. You should see your doctor as soon as possible for a thorough examination.
Breast cancer can be treated easily and effectively if they are detected early; hence the importance of carrying out regular self-examinations on yourself.