Women’s health is essential to their overall well-being, and breast health is integral.
Regular breast exams are crucial for women to detect any abnormalities or signs of breast cancer early on, as early detection can significantly improve the chances of successful treatment.
Breast examination can be done by healthcare professionals or by self-examination at home.
We will discuss the importance of regular breast exams to women’s health and how to do it.
What Are Breast Exams?
Breast exams are physical exams that check for abnormalities or changes in the breast tissue. These exams can be done by a healthcare professional, such as a doctor or nurse, or by self-examination at home. Healthcare professionals use different techniques to examine the breasts, such as visual inspection, palpation, ultrasonography, and mammography. Self-examination at home involves checking the breasts for any lumps or changes in shape or size.
Why Are Regular Breast Exams Important?
Early detection of breast cancer is critical for successful treatment.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, as one in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.
However, if detected early, breast cancer has a high survival rate.
Regular breast exams, whether performed by a healthcare professional or self-examination at home, can help detect any abnormalities early on and increase the chances of successful treatment.
When Should Women Start Getting Regular Breast Exams?
The recommendation is that all women begin self-breast examinations monthly at 20 and grow into that lifestyle for the rest of their lives. Women at a higher risk of breast cancer, such as those with a family history of breast cancer, should start getting regular breast exams as early as possible.
Women should also perform self-examination at home regularly, preferably once a month, to detect any changes or abnormalities early on.
Steps on How to Self-Examine Your Breast
As women, we should never underestimate the importance of self-examination. Regular breast self-examination can help detect any changes early on, and this early detection can save lives. Here are the steps on how to self-examine your breast.
Step 1: Look and Inspect
Begin by standing in front of a mirror with your arms down your sides. Look at the size, shape, and color of your breasts. Check for any swelling, dimpling, or puckering of the skin. Then, raise your arms and examine the breasts again. Check that your nipples are not inverted and that there is no discharge.
Step 2: Touch and Feel
Lie on your back with a pillow under your right shoulder and place your right arm behind your head. Use your left hand to feel your right breast, using a circular motion with the pads of your fingers. Make sure to cover the entire breast, from top to bottom, side to side, and from the collarbone to the top of your abdomen. Remember to check the area under your armpit as well. Repeat this step on your left breast.
Step 3: Check for Lumps
While performing step 2, check for any lumps or thickening in your breast tissue.
It is normal to feel some lumps, especially before your menstrual cycle.
However, please speak to your doctor if you feel any hard lumps or a new lump that won’t leave after your cycle,
Step 4: Repeat Monthly
Perform this self-examination once a month, several days after your menstrual cycle. If you are post-menopausal, do it on the same day every month. Track any changes in your breasts and report them to your healthcare provider.
Regular self-examination of your breasts is essential to maintaining good breast health.
Remember the steps outlined above and practice them monthly. If you notice any changes, do not hesitate to seek medical attention.
Early detection is key in the fight against breast cancer.