What Is A Breast Self
A breast self-examination involves checking your breasts for lumps or changes. Many breast problems are first discovered by women themselves, often by chance. Breast lumps can be non-cancerous or cancerous .
The Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care does not recommend breast self-examinations for women ages 40 to 74 who do not have a higher risk of breast cancer.footnote 1 Studies show that self-examinations don’t save women’s lives and that they can lead to unneeded tests, such as biopsies. It is a good idea to become familiar with how your breasts look and feel and to talk to your doctor about any changes.
Why Should I Do Breast Self
Monthly breast self-exams can help you detect changes that may be signs of infection or breast cancer . When breast cancer is detected early, the chances for survival are much better.
Self-exams are important for breast health. But they should not replace exams and screening tests recommended by doctors. You should still see your primary care provider and/or gynecologist regularly.
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Although not commonly thought of as a healthybehavior, taking the prescription drugs tamoxifenand raloxifene can significantly lower the risk ofbreast cancer in woman at high risk of the disease.Approved by the FDA for breast cancer prevention,these powerful drugs can have side effects, sothey arent right for everyone. If you think youreat high risk, talk to your doctor to see if tamoxifen or raloxifene may be right for you.
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How Do I Self
Lots of people talk about doing self-checks , to try and spot cancer early.
Its good to be aware of what your body is normally like, so its easier to notice if anything changes. But theres no good evidence to suggest that regularly self-checking any part of your body in a set time or set way is helpful. It can actually do more harm than good, by picking up things which wouldnt have gone on to cause you problems.
Self-checking is different to cancer screening read more about screening for cancer.
What To Do If You Find A Lump
Dont panic if you think you feel a lump in your breast. Most women have some lumps or lumpy areas in their breasts all the time, and most breast lumps turn out to be benign . There are a number of possible causes of non-cancerous breast lumps, including normal hormonal changes, a benign breast condition, or an injury.
Dont hesitate to call your doctor if youve noticed a lump or other breast change that is new and worrisome. This is especially true for changes that last more than one full menstrual cycle or seem to get bigger or more prominent in some way. If you menstruate, you may want to wait until after your period to see if the lump or other breast change disappears on its own before calling your doctor. The best healthcare provider to call would be one who knows you and has done a breast exam on you before for example, your gynecologist, primary care doctor, or a nurse practitioner who works with your gynecologist or primary care doctor.
Make sure you get answers. Its important that your doctor gives you an explanation of the cause of the lump or other breast change and, if necessary, a plan for monitoring it or treating it. If youre not comfortable with the advice of the first doctor you see, dont hesitate to get a second opinion.
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Do You Know The Breast Cancer Blind Spot How To Check For Hidden Sign Of Killer Disease
MOST women know they should be carrying out regular breast checks to catch cancer early.
The earlier it is detected, the better chance you will have at fighting the killer disease.
However, there are a few spots which are likely to be missed in self-examinations.
One of these is the nipple, or more specifically – the area behind the nipple.
Experts have said this is the “blind spot” for most people when they are diligently checking their breasts.
Other spots to keep an eye on include the armpits and near the collarbone, which are often forgotten.
Randy Hicks, MD, co-owner and CEO of Regional Medical Imaging in Michigan, said: It is possible some women either do not think they need to check behind the nipple, or may be hesitant to touch this area, as it can be more sensitive than other areas of the breast.
“When doing a self-exam, you should look for changes in the shape or appearance of your breasts, nipples or skin.
“Talk to your doctor if you notice swelling, dimpling, nipple discharge , nipple inversion, skin flaking, or changes in the appearance of your skin that becomes orange peel-like in nature, which can be signs of breast cancer.
“Most lumps and abnormalities arent cancer, but if you have any concerns, be sure to discuss them with your doctor.”
How To Check For Breast Cancer
There is a five-step self exam you can do at home to check for any changes.
- Step one: Begin by looking in a mirror, facing it with your arms on your hips and your shoulders straight. You should be looking for any dimpling, puckering, bulging skin, redness, soreness, a rash or changes in the nipple.
- Step two: Still looking in the mirror, raise both arms above your head and check for the same changes.
- Step three: With your arms still above your head, check for any fluid coming from the nipples. This can include milky, yellow or watery fluid, or blood.
- Step four: While lying down use your opposite hand to check each breast. Using a few fingers, keeping them flat and together, go in a small circular motion around your breasts. Make sure you feel the entire breast by going top to bottom in these small circles. It helps to develop a system or pattern to make sure every inch is covered. Use light pressure for the skin and tissue just beneath, medium pressure for the tissue in the middle of your breasts, and firm pressure to feel the tissue at the back, feeling down to your ribcage.
- Step five: Feel your breasts while either standing or sitting, using the same small circular motions.
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How To Perform A Breast Self
An important step to early detection is to perform a regular breast self-exam. A breast self-examination, or BSE, should be done monthly, around the same time, typically right after your menstrual cycle has ended. If you have been through menopause, choose the same date every month. There are two steps to a BSE, visual inspection and palpation.
Breast Changes To Look Out For
See a GP if you notice any of the following changes:
- a change in the size, outline or shape of your breast
- a change in the look or feel of the skin on your breast, such as puckering or dimpling, a rash or redness
- a new lump, swelling, thickening or bumpy area in one breast or armpit that was not there before
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Know What To Look For
I felt a lump, is a common phrase for those who have had a breast cancer diagnosis, but there are many others symptoms or warning signs to watch for:
- a new lump in your breast or underarm
- thickening or swelling of part of your breast
- irritation or dimpling of your breast skin
- redness or flaky skin in your nipple area or your breast
- pulling in of your nipple or pain in your nipple area
- nipple discharge other than breast milk
- any change in the size or the shape of your breast
- pain in any area of your breast
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The message to check your breasts is not limited to older women, but for younger women and girls also.
Ms Forristal added that once children reach puberty and the body starts changing, girls need to start examining their breasts.
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What Is A Male Breast Self
An MBSE is a way to check your breasts for lumps and other changes. Breast cancer and other breast problems are more common in women but can occur in men. Your risk is increased if you have a family member with breast cancer or are taking certain medicines. Regular BSEs can help you know how your breasts normally look and feel. Most breast lumps or changes are not cancer, but you should always have them checked by a healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider can also watch you and tell you if you are doing your MBSE correctly.
How To Prepare For A Breast Self
The best time to do a breast self-exam is a few days after your monthly menstrual cycle ends. Hormonal changes can affect the size and feel of your breasts, so its best to perform the exam when your breasts are in their normal state.
Women who dont menstruate should choose a certain day to perform the exam, such as the first day of each month.
You should also keep a journal of your self-exams. This will help you track and record any changes you have noticed in your breasts.
Start by standing topless in front of a mirror with your hands at your sides.
Visually inspect your breasts for the following:
- changes in size, shape, or symmetry
- asymmetrical ridges at the bottom
Check for these signs with your hands at your sides. Then, with your arms over your head, and again when lifting one breast at a time.
What Should I Look For
You know your body best. If you notice anything thats unusual for you, or wont go away, make an appointment to speak to your doctor.
Its not possible to know all the different signs and symptoms of cancer, and its not your job to know whats wrong. So the best thing you can do is to tell your doctor if you notice anything thats not normal for you. In most cases it wont be cancer but if it is, spotting it early can make a real difference.
How Should I Check My Breasts
Take the time to get to know how your breasts normally look and feel through normal regular activities .
You dont need to use a special technique, but ensure you look at and feel your breasts regularly. Make sure this includes all parts of your breast, your armpit and up to your collarbone.
For women of all ages, it is recommended that you be breast aware. Breast awareness is being familiar with the normal look and feel of your breasts, so that you can identify any unusual changes .
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Other Important Risk Factors For Breast Cancer
Unfortunately, there are also a number of important breast cancer risk factors that women have no control over. Knowing which ones apply to you can help you understand your risk and do what you can to lower it. If you feel youre at high risk, talk to a doctor or other health professional. These can increase a womans breast cancer risk:
- Older age, especially 60 years or over
- Family history of breast cancer
- First menstrual period before age 12
- Menopause at age 55 or over
- First childbirth after age 35
- No children
- Tall height
- Dense breasts
Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines
MedStar Health doctors and the American Cancer Society recommend different screening guidelines based on the following risk categories:
- Examination by a trained professional every three years
Average risk may increase based on:
- Personal history of breast abnormalities
- Current age
- Breast cancer history of close relatives
- Whether a woman has had a breast biopsy
- Physical inactivity
High-risk: Family history of disease
- Women should be aware of any changes in their breasts. Monthly breast self-examination beginning at 20 years old is optional, but highly recommended.
- Clinical examination every six months starting 10 years before the age at which the youngest family member was diagnosed with the disease.
- Annual mammography starting 10 years before the age of the youngest family member with the disease .
- Consider annual MRI .
High-risk: Diagnosis of benign breast disease or breast cancer confined to the milk duct or lobule
- Women should be aware of any changes in their breasts. Monthly self-examination beginning at 20 years old is optional, but highly recommended.
- Clinical examination every six months beginning at time of diagnosis.
- Annual mammography beginning at the time of diagnosis.
- Consider annual MRI .
Is There A Particular Time Of The Month I Should Do Breast Self
Women should do a breast self-exam once a month, every month. Women who are still menstruating should perform a breast self-exam after their period. Women who have stopped menstruating and those who have very irregular periods can pick a day each month. Choose a day that is consistent and easy to remember, like the first day of the month, the last day of the month or your favorite number.
What Good Does A Breast Self
Although they are not as accurate as mammograms or clinical exams performed by a healthcare provider, breast self-exams are your first line of defense when it comes to detecting breast cancer. Physical and visual changes in your breasts may be warning signs and should prompt you to call us right away. But you wont know if there are changes unless you know the look and feel of your breasts. Regular self-exams allow you to become familiar with your own body so that youll know immediately when something is different.
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Your Personal Testicular Cancer Self
The best time to check your testicles is after a warm shower or bath. The heat from the water causes the skin of your scrotum to relax, making it easier to check.
- Examine each testicle with both hands.;Place your index and middle fingers under the testicle while placing your thumbs on top.
- Applying slight pressure, gently roll the testicle between your thumbs and fingers looking for any irregularities like small, painless lumps. The testicles are usually smooth, oval shaped and somewhat firm; its okay for one testicle to be slightly larger than the other.
- Now examine your epididymis, the comma-shaped cord behind each testicle, which sometimes gets confused for an abnormal lump.
By regularly performing this exam, you will become more familiar with your testicles and aware of any changes that might be of concern. Please do this self-check monthly. It might be good to plan to schedule it the same day each month, along with your breast self-check and skin self-check.;
1) Your monthly testicular self-check.
2)Your yearly doc-check.
When Should You Do Your Diy Breast Self
A breast self-examination should be done once every month.
The best time to examine your breasts is 7 to 10 days after the start of your period, when your breast are least tender and least swollen.
If you no longer have periods, then choose a date that is easy to remember.
It is best done while lying down on the bed. You can also check while standing in the shower or in front of the mirror.;;
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Avoid Birth Control Pills Particularly After Age 35 Or If You Smoke
Birth control pills have both risks and benefits. The younger a woman is, the lower the risks are. While women are taking birth control pills, they have a slightly increased risk of breast cancer. This risk goes away quickly, though, after stopping the pill. The risk of stroke and heart attack is also increased while on the pill particularly if a woman smokes. However, long-term use can also have important benefits, like lowering the risk of ovarian cancer, colon cancer and uterine cancer not to mention unwanted pregnancy so theres also a lot in its favor. If youre very concerned about breast cancer, avoiding birth control pills is one option to lower risk.
Learn How To Check For Cancer At Home
This is the conversation we all need to have and what;Self chec is about. Please check the left-hand menu on this page to learn about;and see how you can become more proactive in taking better care of yourself and nudge others to do the same.
IMPORTANT:;We recognize that the national cancer advisory organizations sometimes do not agree about specific cancer guidelines for self-checks and doc-checks, often making it confusing to the public about what to do.
That is why we are asking you to err on the side of caution by always consulting a health professional to advise you in the health choices you make.;Thank you for taking good care of yourself.
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How Do I Do A Breast Self
If you choose to do one, follow these steps:
In the mirror:
In the shower: