A breast exam is something every woman should do periodically. This is the best way to detect the early warning signs of cancer, and early detection is the key to prevention. Once you’re in your 20’s, start doing it regularly.
Developing breast awareness is also a good way to detect cancer early. Know how your breasts feel naturally, and then you will be better able to tell when something is not right. Do a self exam about once a month.
How To Do A Breast Self Exam
There are two self breast exam methods. One is to lie down, put one hand behind your head, and feel around the breast with the other hand. Laying down stretches out the tissue and allows you to better feel anything unusual.
Another simple method is to use a mirror. Put both of your arms behind your head and see how your breasts move. Next, put your hands on your hips and hunch forward. Your breasts should move in the same way. If one doesn’t move like the other, it’s a sign that there might be trouble.
What To Look For
The most common sign of possible cancer is a lump. They are usually hard and painless. They can also be soft and tender, but most often cancerous growths have no pain, and they are hard around the edges. It can be any size at all. Even a lump as small as a pea should be checked out.
Look for any changes at all in the way your breasts feel or look. Especially be on the look out for irregularities. If one sits a little differently than the other, this may be a sign.
The nipples sometimes give an indication that something’s not right. If there is a discharge from your nipple, you should get it checked out. Sometimes this discharge will be mixed with blood. Any discharge at all might be a problem, so talk to the doctor about it.
There may also be redness or puffiness around the nipples. There may or may not be any pain. Puffiness doesn’t necessarily mean cancer. It can be caused by any number of things. But, along with other symptoms, puffiness might mean trouble.
A self breast exam is an important first step for preventing and fighting cancer. If you find something unusual, don’t despair. Go to the clinic for a mammogram, and your doctor will be able to tell you if it’s something dangerous or not.