What To Watch Out For
When doing this self-exam, check to see if there is a change in the nipple or the skin around the nipple.
Other things to keep in mind is if theres swelling near your armpit or any sort of lump near or around your breasts.
While its normal for your breasts to feel a little painful during your menstrual cycle if your breasts hurt for a long period of time, it may be a good idea to get them checked out.
If You Feel A Lump Does It Mean You Have Breast Cancer
Only 20% of the breast lumps are cancerous. Also, no doctor bases a cancer diagnosis on a simple self-examination. There are other sophisticated diagnostic tools such as mammography and biopsy that determine whether or not you have breast cancer.
I hope this blog helped you understand the importance of breast self-examination at home. Plus, you now know the necessary steps for how to do your breast self-check every month.
If you found this breast self-exam guide useful, please share it with your friends and family. Also, dont forget to download the instructional breast cancer self-exam PDF for free!
How Is Breast Cancer Diagnosed
Magnetic resonance imaging may be used to diagnose breast cancer.
Doctors often use additional tests to find or diagnose breast cancer. They may refer women to a breast specialist or a surgeon. This does not mean that she has cancer or that she needs surgery. These doctors are experts in diagnosing breast problems.
- Breast ultrasound. A machine that uses sound waves to make detailed pictures, called sonograms, of areas inside the breast.
- Diagnostic mammogram. If you have a problem in your breast, such as lumps, or if an area of the breast looks abnormal on a screening mammogram, doctors may have you get a diagnostic mammogram. This is a more detailed X-ray of the breast.
- Magnetic resonance imaging . A kind of body scan that uses a magnet linked to a computer. The MRI scan will make detailed pictures of areas inside the breast.
- Biopsy. This is a test that removes tissue or fluid from the breast to be looked at under a microscope and do more testing. There are different kinds of biopsies .
Things You Can Do For Breast Cancer Awareness Month
1. Get EducatedFirst things first. Do your research! Did you know about 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime? Its important to learn what breast cancer is, how it can affect you, the different types, how to prevent breast cancer, and what you should do.
In short, breast cancer is a disease where cells rapidly grow in your breast that can form a tumour. This can affect you physically, mentally, socially, emotionally, and more. Although women over 40 years old are at higher risk, there is still a possibility for younger women having risk factors.
Its important to also be informed of possible symptoms, such as lumps, nipple discharge, swelling of breast, irritation, and more. These can be signs to look out for to prevent the disease from spreading.
Do your research about breast cancer and what you can do to prevent it! Learn more here: https://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/about-breast-cancer/
2. Do your regular check-ups
Like stated above, even though you may not be at high risk of developing breast cancer at the moment, it is still important to do regular screenings.
It is recommended for women to get check-ups every 2 years at the clinic. However, there are ways to do more frequent screenings at home, such as paying attention to your breasts, feeling for lumps, etc. This is a great way to be mindful of your breasts and detect any concerns right away.
3. Buy from brands that help support the cause
Participate or volunteer at a run/walk marathon
Benign Breast Conditions Linked To A Slight Increase In Breast Cancer Risk
Some benign breast conditions are associated with a slight increase in the risk of developing breast cancer. All of these conditions involve an overgrowth of breast cells that closely resemble normal, healthy cells. The cells look fairly typical and are not abnormal .
The increase in cancer risk is so slight that it generally doesnt change recommendations about screening practices or follow-up. Your doctor may encourage you to pay closer attention to getting annual mammograms and adopting healthy behaviors that lower risk, such as exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and limiting alcohol. However, your breast cancer risk is still considered to be similar to that of women at average risk.
In addition, your individual situation will be taken into account. You and your doctor can discuss your benign diagnosis in relation to any other well-defined risk factors you may have, such as family history or personal medical history. You can then decide if you need a different follow-up plan.
The following benign conditions are linked to a slight increase in cancer risk. Most would be diagnosed after youve had a biopsy of a suspicious area that showed up on an imaging study. Your doctor often will classify the condition based on the appearance of breast tissue under a microscope.
Also Check: What Are Tumor Markers For Breast Cancer
How Often Should You Do At
Although breast cancer is most commonly found in women over 50 years old, it is – albeit more rarely – diagnosed at younger ages. Each year, around 4% of cases in the UK are in women aged 39 or under, which is still over 2,000 people.
Rusby suggests that its a good idea to become familiar with what is normal for your breasts and to get into the habit of examining yourself even in your 20s.
Timings wise, a monthly check is best, either a few days after the end of your menstrual period or on the first day of the month if you arent having periods. Jennifer adds…
- There are apps to help you remember, or set a reminder in your calendar.
- You could ask a friend to be a bosom buddy, to remind each other to check and support if either of you find anything.
- Some women plan their checks for the beginning of the week so if they find something that worries them they can seek support straight away.
- If youre on a screening programme, make sure to still do at-home checks in between appointments.
Where Can I Go To Get Screened
You can get screened for breast cancer at a clinic, hospital, or doctors office. If you want to be screened for breast cancer, call your doctors office. They can help you schedule an appointment.
Most health insurance plans are required to cover screening mammograms every one to two years for women beginning at age 40 with no out-of-pocket cost .
Are you worried about the cost? CDC offers free or low-cost mammograms. Find out if you qualify.
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Importance Of Mammograms For Early Detection Of Cancer
One of the most important things for women to learn about is getting regular mammograms, which can detect early signs of breast cancer before it has grown too big. It’s recommended that you start having these done at age 40 but learn more about when your doctor might suggest doing them earlier or later depending on factors such as family history and other health issues.
Signs Of Breast Cancer
There are many different breast cancer symptoms. Breast self-exams mostly check for lumps. While a lump in the breast could be a tumor, it is normal for breasts to be lumpy. That is why it is important to do breast self-exams regularly if they are going to be part of your plan to check for signs of breast cancer. If you notice a new lump that was not there before, that is when you should contact your doctor.
Other signs of breast cancer to look for include a new lump in the armpit, thickening or swelling of part of the breast, irritated or dimpled breast skin, redness or flaky skin especially in the nipple area, and nipple discharge. Any of these breast cancer symptoms should be reported to a doctor promptly. While no one sign definitely means you have breast cancer, it is better to be safe than sorry. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms. Depending on your findings, they may perform their own breast exam or use scans like an MRI or mammogram to check for tumors.
Also Check: What Foods Kill Breast Cancer Cells
When Youre Lying Down
As you lie down, your breast tissue will spread out evenly along the wall of your chest. Checking for breast cancer at home can also be performed while lying down. Simply place a pillow under your right shoulder and place your right arm behind your head. Take your left hand and move the pads of your fingers around your right breast, going in small circular motions until youve felt the whole breast area and the armpit. Vary the amount of pressure you use and squeeze the nipple to check for discharge. Repeat with your left breast. Again, do this once a month. A breast self-exam will help you know what is normal for your breasts and your body.
In The Shower Or Bath
It may be easier to check your breasts while youre in the shower or bath, as your hands are wet. This makes it easier to slide your hand over your breasts.
An easy way to check your breasts is to:
Read Also: When Do You Need Radiation For Breast Cancer
Mammograms Are Your Best Hope
The first thing you should know about breast self-examsthey should NOT replace mammograms. Mammography is still the single most effective screening test for breast cancer known today. A mammogram is simply an X-ray of your breast tissue that tells your doctor if you have early warning signs of cancer.
You should have an annual mammogram beginning at age 40, but you should begin earlier if breast cancer runs in your family or you are in a high-risk group.
Why Should You Know How To Do Breast Cancer Self
Here are a few reasons why you should know how to do complete self-examination for breast cancer:
- To Ensure Timely Detection& Treatment: Having awareness of breast cancer self-check steps can help you discover lumps or tumors at the early stages. In many developed countries, you have to go for periodic screening for breast cancer. Early detections are easier to treat & improve longevity.
- To Reduces Stress: The path after a breast cancer diagnosis is difficult for both the patient and her family. Chemotherapy and the fight alone brings a major mental & physical toll. So identifying the warning signs of breast cancer through self-examination can greatly reduce this stress.
- To Stay Prepared During Emergencies: During COVID, many women had no access to yearly mammograms. Women who know how to do breast self-check can stay alert and look out for any abnormal symptoms even if medical check-ups arent available.
Now lets move on to the self-check breast cancer guide. You can also jump right to the breast self-exam PDF.
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What Are The Stages Of Breast Cancer
There are 5 stages of breast cancer:Stage 0: Non-invasive breast cancer no evidence whether the cancer is spreading in neighboring regionsStage 1 4: Varying stages of invasive cancer which starts spreading to nearby tissuesDoctors use various sophisticated techniques to determine which stage cancer you have.
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 .
Learn more about Breastcancer.org’s recommendations on when to begin annual mammograms.
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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
How To Identify Breast Cancer In Male
Although this cancer is associated with women, men can also develop the breast cancer, but it is very rare. By identifying symptoms and performing a breast self-exam at home, you can recognize male breast cancer. Hence you can get a diagnosis and treatment for the disease on time. Most of the men who have breast cancer may develop it after they reach 65 years. If you have a liver disease like cirrhosis, then it increases female hormones in your system thereby increasing the risk of Breast cancer. Doctors also dont know the causes of Male Breast Cancer, then How to Identify the Breast Cancer in Men ? is now the common question that arises in our mind. The only solution is identifying the signs and symptoms of Male breast cancer or doing the self examination of breast.
Know more: Stages of breast cancer
You may notice the changes in your breast through some everyday activities such as during shower or while changing the clothes. Simply follow the self breast exam steps as mentioned above. Keeping an eye on your breasts and skin can alert you to perform a breast self-exam and see your doctor. If you have observed thickening of your breast tissue or found a lump or getting pain in your breast or inverting of the nipple, then you may have high chances of getting the disease. So, perform the breast check up frequently to detect the breast cancer early.
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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: Touch
Check for lumps by examining your entire breast from your armpit to your cleavage with different pressure.
Repeat this step for your other breast.
Videos And Steps For Breast Cancer Self
Since October is the ‘Breast Cancer Awareness’ month, I decided to dedicate an entire article to encourage women to do a quick breast self-exam at home! Taking care of your health doesn’t always mean exercising and dieting, sometimes yo
You just need to observe and take extra care of the changes happening to your body. Here are some breast self examination steps and videos to help you learn how to check for breast cancer at home.
Note: This does not replace getting a mammogram and getting checked at the doctor’s. It is extremely important to do regular checkups to make sure everything safe and healthy. So, please make sure you constanltly dedicate some of your time to go to the doctor and get professioinally checked. It really could save lives.
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Common Symptoms Of Breast Cancer
All women are at risk for developing this disease, but those who have a family history or certain factors may be more likely to develop it than others so learn about what these factors might be too! Symptoms include:
An asymmetry between one side and another .
A change in skin texture including dimpling, puckering, redness/swelling of skin surrounding the nipple, “orange peel” appearance.
Nipple retraction when nipples appear pulled inward into the chest instead of sticking out normally.
If you notice any of these changes then see your doctor immediately since they can lead to other complications.