India is witnessing an increased number of breast cancer cases registered each year. Quite a few cases fall under the younger age group (25-40 years), which indeed is disturbing. The risk of breast cancer increases with age. Women who are over the age of 50 have a high risk of falling prey to it. The risk doubles if it runs in the hereditary, first or second degree of relatives.
To detect breast cancer early,Breast Self-Exam (BSE) is a technique that every woman can use to examine her breasts on her own. It’s a good idea to perform this test to look for any changes (lump, skin change or discharge) in the breast that may signal breast cancer. Many doctors recommend that performing this test is an important part of your health routine just like exercising and eating healthy. If you detected it at an early stage, proper breast cancer treatment could help you fight it well and can significantly improve your chances of surviving the disease.
When Should You Perform It?
Doctors advise that adult women of all ages should carry out this test once every month. Examining them seven days after your period ends is the best time as your breasts at that point are least likely to be swollen and tender.
Johns Hopkins Medical center states,
“Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, so establishing a regular breast self-exam is very important.”
Though mammogramscan easilydetect cancer even before one notices a lump, breast self-exam is the right way to stay familiar with your breasts. Keep a note of how they look and feel so that any changes observed can be quickly bought into the notice of your healthcare professional.
How to Perform a Breast Self-Exam
1. In front of a Mirror
The first and the most fundamental step is to examine your breasts in front of a mirror. Make sure your shoulders are straight, and arms are on the hips. The room used for the examination should have a large mirror and be well-lit . Look at your breasts well and don’t be alarmed if they differ in shape. Most women’s breasts are not equal in shape. What you need to look for are any changes in the texture, skin, and color. Also, see if they are evenly shaped without any visible swelling or distortion. Also, look for any dimpling, bulging of skin and puckering as well. If you notice any visible changes, bring them to your doctor’s notice.
2. In the Shower
Check your entire breast and armpit area by using the pads of your finger in a circular pattern. Move your fingers from outside to the centre, check both breasts for any hardening, skin thickening, and lump. If you happen to notice any changes, look for a Cancer Centre in Delhi and get them checked by a Breast Surgeon.
3. While Lying Down
While lying down, use your left hand to feel the right breast and your right hand to feel the left one. The benefit here is that while lying down the tissue present in breasts spread out evenly on the chest wall making it easier for you to find out any distortion or changes. Use your finger pads in small circular motions and cover the entire breast area and armpit. Be sure to squeeze the nipple, gently and check for any abnormalities like fluid discharge and lump.
The aim of Breast Self-Exam is to make you get used to the feel of your breasts. Regular monthly examination will help you immediately identify any changes and developments in your breasts. If you feel any changes, be sure to contact your health provider as soon as possible.