When To Examine Your Breasts
You don’t need to examine your breasts every day or even every week. But it is important to know how your breasts normally feel, and how that changes with your periods.
Some women have lumpier breasts around the time of a period. If this is the same in both breasts, don’t worry. But check your breasts again the following month, a few days after your period is over.
If the lumpiness comes and goes with your menstrual cycle, it is nothing to worry about.
Your breasts usually feel softer and not as lumpy if you no longer have periods.
Help With Breast Awareness
If you are worried that you don’t know how to check your breasts, talk it over with your GP or practice nurse.
You can also see staff at your local well woman clinic. Your GP or practice nurse can give you the telephone number.
The staff can tell you about changes you can normally expect in your breasts. They can also tell you about ways of learning how your breasts normally look and feel.
How Often Should You Check Your Breasts
Check your breasts as regularly as you like so you get to know what ‘normal’ is for you. “Do it as often as you need to ensure you feel confident that if there were any changes, you’d pick them up quickly,” says Dr Wild.
However, Mr Dimitri J Hadjiminas, Consultant Breast & Endocrine Surgeon at The Harley Street Clinic, says you should check your breasts at least once a month and at the same time in your menstrual cycle.
“Be mindful your breasts will change during your monthly cycle, pregnancy, and menopause,” adds Dr Wild.
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When Should I See A Doctor
It is important to remember that most breast changes are not caused by cancer, and the signs and symptoms can be caused by other medical conditions. However, if you have noticed any symptoms or changes in your breasts, it is important that you see your doctor without delay so that the changes can be checked. This may include a physical examination or imaging of your breasts. Early detection gives the best possible chance of survival if you are diagnosed with breast cancer.
It is important to remember that breast awareness does not replace having regular mammograms and other screening tests as recommended by your doctor. Some people diagnosed with breast cancer have signs or symptoms. However, some women have no signs/symptoms and the breast cancer is found during a screening mammogram.
In order to detect breast cancer early, it is recommended that all women between 50-74 years attend regular screening mammograms every two years. These are offered for free by BreastScreen Australia. Women aged 40-49 and 75 years and older are also eligible for free mammograms if they choose to attend. In deciding whether to attend a screening mammogram, women in these age groups can speak with their doctor and should also consider the potential benefits and downsides of screening mammograms for them.
When Should Bse Be Done
A monthly self-breast exam is an important tool in detecting breast cancer early. By doing BSE regularly, you get to know how your breasts normally feel so that you are more apt to detect any change.
Women should begin practising breast self-examination by age 20 and continue the practice throughout their lives – even during pregnancy and after menopause.
Become familiar with how your breasts usually look and feel so that you may notice any change from what is normal for you.
- If you still menstruate, the best time to do BSE is several days, or about a week, after your period ends. These are the days when your breasts are least likely to be tender or swollen
- If you no longer menstruate, pick a certain day – such as the first day of each month – to remind yourself to do BSE
- If you are taking hormones, talk with your physician about when to do BSE
When checking your breasts for any changes, here are the main things to look for
- Redness, soreness, rash, or swelling
- a change in the size, outline or shape of your breast
- Clear or bloody fluid leaking from the nipple
- Changes on or around the nipple
- lump of any size, or thickening in your breast
- An ‘orange peel appearance of the skin caused by unusually enlarged pores
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Should I Do Breast Self
Experts used to recommend that you do breast self-exams every month. A self-exam was a specific way of feeling your breasts. But research about breast self-exams has found that they may not be that helpful, so they are no longer recommended.
Just looking at your breasts and feeling them from time to time should be good enough. The key is knowing whats normal for your breasts so youll notice any changes in how they look or feel.
What Should I Do If I Find A Lump
Donât panic. It could be many things other than cancer. But do check in with your doctorâs office if you notice any new breast changes, such as:
- An area that is different from any other area on either breast
- A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm that lasts through your menstrual cycle
- A change in the size, shape, or contour of the breast
- A mass or lump
- A marble-like area under the skin
- A change in the feel or appearance of the skin on the breast or nipple
- Bloody or clear fluid discharge from the nipples
- Redness of the skin on the breast or nipple
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How To Make Breast Self
Make it routine. 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 has changed. Try to get in the habit of doing a breast self-examination once a month to familiarize yourself with how your breasts normally look and feel. Examine yourself several 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.
Get to know your breasts’ different neighborhoods. The upper, outer area near your armpit tends to have the most prominent lumps and bumps. The lower half of your breast can feel like a sandy or pebbly beach. The area under the nipple can feel like a collection of large grains. Another part might feel like a lumpy bowl of oatmeal.
Start a journal where you record the findings of your breast self-exams. This can be like a small map of your breasts, with notes about where you feel lumps or irregularities. Especially in the beginning, this may help you remember, from month to month, what is normal for your breasts. It is not unusual for lumps to appear at certain times of the month, but then disappear, as your body changes with the menstrual cycle .
What Should You Look For In Your Breasts
Be aware of any new or unusual changes in your breasts. If you notice any signs or symptoms of breast cancer , see your doctor immediately.
Sign or symptoms of breast cancer will depend on where the tumour is, the size of the tumour and how quickly it is growing in the breast. For example, some women will not have any symptoms and the breast cancer is found during a screening mammogram .
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Why Are Breast Exams Important
Breast exams improve the chances of finding breast cancer early. And the earlier breast cancer is found, the easier it is to treat.
Your doctor or nurse can tell whether your breasts look and feel healthy. During a breast exam, your doctor will feel for lumps and other problems, and can recommend more tests if theres anything unusual.
It Can Be Scary To Find A Change That Doesnt Feel Or Look Normal But Its Important To Get Any Concerning Signs Checked Out By Your Gp Even If Youve Had A Mammogram Recently
Most breast changes arent caused by cancer but check with your doctor to be sure. If youve had a breast change checked out by your GP and they arent concerned but it continues to grow or change, its important to go back and have it checked again or seek a second opinion.
If youre not sure about talking to your GP, tell someone you trust, like a girlfriend or your mum. They can support you to see your GP. BCFNZ also has nurses available, who can give you free advice. Get in touch at 0800 226 8773
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Signs And Symptoms Of Breast Cancer
Many people associate breast cancer with a breast lump. But, a lump in your breast does not necessarily mean you have breast cancer. Nine out of 10 lumps are not cancerous. You may have a benign cyst.
You must, however, seek immediate advice from a doctor if you find a lump on your breast or notice any of the following:
- A lump or swelling under your arm
- Breast pain
- Peeling, scaling or flaking skin on your breast or nipple
- Inverted nipple
- Tests to Diagnose Breast Cancer
To determine whether or not you have breast cancer, a doctor at a breast clinic will need to examine you and may need to conduct diagnostic tests. These tests might include:
A mammogram: This is an imaging test performed with the use of x-rays, usually in women above the age of 40 years, that helps your doctor see below the surface of your breast.
A breast ultrasound: This test uses echoes from sound waves to create a picture of the tissues deep in your breast so your doctor can distinguish between normal tissue, a solid tumour or a cyst.
A breast ultrasound is often the first or only imaging test used to evaluate a lump in women who are under 40 or are pregnant or breastfeeding.
In women, over 40 years old it is used to assess areas where the patient experiences symptoms or an adjunct to mammogram screening particularly in women with dense breasts.
Other tests include MRI , and biopsy.
What Should You Be Checking For
One of the biggest misconceptions about breast cancer is that you will get a lump if you develop the disease. While a lump is undoubtedly one of the more common symptoms, this is not the only thing you should be monitoring. Here are a series of things you should be looking and feeling for when you check your breasts:
- Changes in skin texture such as puckering/dimpling
- Nipple discharge
- Nipple inversion and changes in direction
- Swelling in your armpit or around collar bone
- A sudden change in size or shape
- A rash or crusting of the nipple or surrounding area
- Lumps and thickening
- Constant, unusual pain in your breast or armpit
- Make sure you examine right up to your collarbone and into armpits
Remember: There is no right or wrong way to check your breasts – as long as youre doing it regularly.
For more information, head over to the CoppaFeel! website.
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Easy Steps To Do Your Diy Breast Self
Doing a DIY breast self-check every month helps you to understand and be familiar with the condition of your breast
Step 1: Look
Put your hands on your hips and look out for changes in breast shape, skin surface and nipple abnormalities. Raise your arms above your head to look for changes on the underside of your breast.
Step 2: Touch
Touch and feel your breast using your middle 3 fingers, moving in a circular motion from outer area towards the nipple. Gently squeeze your nipple to check for any discharge.
Repeat this step for your other breast
Step 3: Check
Check for lumps by examining your entire breast from your armpit to your cleavage with different pressure.
Repeat this step for your other breast.
Why Is Breast Self
Cancer prevention has come a long way, but progress needs to continue. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness about breast cancer and advocating for breast health among women and men alike.
Self-detection is vital, with a large percentage of female survivors detecting breast cancer themselves. This stresses the importance of breast self-examination.
Some women are at higher risk of developing breast cancer than others, such as older women and those who:
- Have a previous breast cancer diagnosis or other breast conditions
- Have dense breasts or been exposed to radiation
- Have a high alcohol consumption
Likewise, you need to get yourself checked if a close relative like a sister, mother, or daughter has had breast cancer. While the statistics are staggering, just because you have several risk factors doesnt necessarily mean you will develop some form of breast cancer. At the same time, just because you fall under the low-risk group doesnt mean that you will never develop breast cancer.
While a breast self-exam is not the most reliable way of detecting breast cancer, the exam helps you understand your breasts better. By understanding how your breasts usually look and feel, you can notice any abnormal changes and inform your doctor.
There are so many conditions that may cause a womans breasts to change. Due to that, you need to go for a breast cancer screening at least once a year.
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If You’re Diagnosed With Breast Cancer
- What is the type and extent of the breast cancer?
- Whats my prognosis?
- What are my treatment options and how soon can they start?
- Should I continue taking HRT or the Pill?
- Are there any changes I should make to make to my lifestyle ?
- Will I be able to carry on working?
- Are my female relatives at a higher than average breast cancer risk?
- Can I have tests to find out if the cancer has spread to other parts of my body?
- Are there any clinical trials that I might be able to participate in?
- What services does this hospital provide to help me through this?
- Who can I telephone later if Im worried about diagnosis and treatment?
How Do I Do A Breast Self
If you choose to do one, follow these steps:
In the mirror:
In the shower:
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How To Prevent Breast Cancer: The First Step
With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, lets talk about early detection. Quite possibly the best way to catch breast cancer early is performing an at home, self-breast exam.
Believe it or not, 40% of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women performing at home breast exams!* If thats not reason enough to check yourself, I dont know what is!
Self-breast exams are important for everyone, even if you dont think youre at risk for breast cancer. Its important to start doing them now so you become familiar with your breasts and can notice any changes in the future.
Inspection While Lying Down
As you lay down the tissues of your breast spread off evenly. So one can feel the changes especially if one has heavy breasts. You need to lie down and then put a pillow under your right shoulder. Place the right arm behind your head. Again, by applying the pads of your fingers press the different parts of the tissue and under your arm. Next put the pillow on the other side and check the armpit and breast.
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What Is Breast Cancer
Typically, breast cancer forms in the lobules or the ducts of the breast. The lobules are the glands that produce milk, and the ducts are the pathways that bring the milk from the glands to the nipple.
Cancer can also occur in the breasts fatty tissue or the fibrous connective tissue in your breast.
Two categories are used to describe the most common types of breast cancer: invasive and noninvasive cancer. Invasive cancer means the cancer has spread from the breast ducts or glands to other parts of the breast.
Noninvasive cancer means the cancer has not spread from the original tissue.