Breast Self-Exam: Learn How To Do It Right

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in women globally. From being ranked fourth on the list of most common cancers in India during the 1990s, it has now become the first according to the National Library of Medicine. While cancer – which can be caused by a variety of reasons such as alcohol consumption, smoking and certain lifestyle habits – cannot be completely prevented, timely diagnosis can increase survival rates in cancer patients.

Dr Sunita Mulinti, Senior Consultant Radiation Oncologist, American Oncology Institute, Hyderabad said, “Lack of breast cancer awareness and failure to detect it early is one of the reasons for the high mortality rate among breast cancer patients.” Investigation is the key to early detection.

What is breast self-exam?

A self-breast exam is an inspection of the breasts that women can easily do on their own at home. Dr Sunita stressed, “While many women overlook or overlook this fact, a self-breast screening is important for early detection of breast cancer.”

According to the expert, it is especially preferred in uncharted or rural areas where mammography and regular physical examination of breasts is either not possible or not common. “That said, the effectiveness of mammography cannot be ruled out as it detects breast tumors earlier, which improves the chances of survival,” she told indianexpress.com.

How to introspect properly?

As part of a self-breast examination, use your eyes as well as your hands to determine if there are any obvious changes in the breasts.

You should see a doctor if you notice any hard lumps or lumps, swelling, dimples, pain, sores, discharge from your nipples, or any changes in your breasts. (Photo: Getty/Thinkstock)

For a visual test, sit or stand naked in front of a mirror and watch for puckering, dimpling, or changes in the size, shape, or symmetry of your breasts. Inspect your nipples to see if they are bent (inverted). Be sure to inspect your breasts with your hands pressed to your hips and your arms extended overhead. Also, lift your breasts to see if the bottom ridges are symmetrical.

Next, use your hands to examine your breasts. Lie on your back on a flat surface and check if you feel any lumps. “First of all, when examining a breast, don’t make the mistake of leaving out your underarm area and nipple, as about 20 percent of lumps are found in this area,” Dr Sunita said. Second, the use of any lotion or body oil should be avoided while doing a self-breast check. Both your hands and your skin should be dry.

Women should ideally have a breast self test once a month. “They may choose a day (for example the 10th day of their cycle) because there is less chance of swelling and tenderness. However, if you no longer have periods, you can choose one of each month to help remember You can choose the day itself,” she suggested.

What are red flags?

You should see a doctor if you notice any hard lumps or lumps, swelling, dimples, pain, sores, discharge from your nipples, or any changes in your breasts. “However, as a cautionary note, finding changes or lumps in your breast is not a cause for panic and to compare the lump felt with opposite areas of the breast as most of the time it is due to glandular breast tissue. Which is normal,” she said. added.

“While it is advised to see a doctor if you feel or notice any changes in your breasts, screening mammograms are recommended for most women under the age of 40. women. ,” said Dr Sunita.

Women who are 50 to 74 years old and have an average risk of breast cancer should have a mammogram every year. Women ages 40 to 49 should talk to their doctor about when to start and how often to have mammograms.

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