With all sorts of stories in the media, it is easy to get carried away with the thought of breast cancer, especially if you are a female of a certain age.
Take a look at Angelina Jolie, for example; she has recently had both breasts removed in a preventative measure to avoid breast cancer – something her mother died, very sadly at a young age, just 56. In cases such as that, you can see the devastation that breast cancer can have, not just on the person who is suffering, but also on those around them. The constant fear of going through the same thing will rip family members to shreds, and the only way to ensure that you have the best fighting chance against a life-changing condition, for both you and your family and friends, is to learn about your breasts and how to spot any changes, no matter how big or small.
Luckily, with more media outlets showing the importance of a breast exam and breast cancer awareness, you shouldn’t have a problem finding information on how to do it properly, and just in case you didn’t know, we are going to make life easier for you.
The aim of the game
The aim of your breast check is to look out for anything that is out of the ordinary – if you spot something early enough, you can get yourself to the doctors to get it checked out and you can get it diagnosed and therefore treated as soon as possible, leaving you with a much higher survival rate.
Ideally, you are going to want to check your boobs at least once a month, although a quick fondle every time you jump in the bath or shower.
How to check yourself
There are two very important ways to check your own breasts:
That shouldn’t be too hard to remember, should it?
We’ll start with looking at your breasts
In the mirror, you should take a good, hard look at yourself. Look at how your breasts look, how they pucker slightly, how they droop, how they move, etc. Learn the color of the skin, the way your nipples look, and even how lumpy they look – these are all things that are going to help you in the future when it comes to performing your own breast exam.
Moving on to feeling your breasts
You are going to want to check your breasts in three different positions, so maybe get into a habit of doing it standing up in the shower, laying down on the bed or even sat down at your computer desk.
You are going to want to use your palm and your fingers and move your hands around your breasts – feel for bits and pieces. You will find, if you are doing this for the first time, that there are natural lumps and bumps to the breasts, and the more you examine yourself, the more you will get used to these. What you are looking for, when it comes to doing your breast self exam, is anything that is out of the ordinary – any lumps and bumps, for example.
You are going to want to check your breasts from the deep crevice in your armpit, right to the underneath of your boob, and almost as far as up to your collar bone, on both sides. This is where you may find the lumps and bumps, should you be unlucky enough to get them.
You should also be taking a closer look at your nipple – is there any discharge? These are all things that can change if you have any problems so the more you get used to these, the quicker you will be able to tell if something is amiss.
If you notice any of the following things, you should probably get yourself off to a doctor or medical professional to get it more closely inspected:
- Lumps – this is often the first indication of something being wrong but many of the lumps that women find are benign – usually a cyst or something similar that is easily treatable.
- Thickening of an area of skin or in the tissue beneath the skin.
- Change in the size or shape of the breast.
- Skin that has dimpled in an unusual fashion.
- Any blood.
- Any sort of rash or odd looking skin around the breast or nipple.
- Any swelling in unusual places that hasn’t been caused by natural changes and your menstrual cycle.