Breast self-examination; a necessity for all females.

Breast self-examination is a necessity for all ladies in their reproductive ages to menopausal ages.  All women must be taught and know-how to carry out regular monthly self-examination of their breasts. Breast self-examination can help to detect breast cancer at the early stage and it is a simple procedure that can be done one conveniently.

You might wonder, when should breast self-examination done? The best time to do breast self-examination is immediately after each month's menstruation ( about 3 to 5 days after your menses) in younger and menopausal women when the breasts are not tender or swollen.

Importance of breast self-examination.

Research has implied how important carrying out breast self-examination is which are:
  • Breast self-examination helps women to assess their breasts changes in sizes or shapes or lumps.
  • Detection of abnormalities like lumps.
  • It helps in detecting breast cancer at early stages.

How normal breasts should look like.

  • A normal breast must be symmetrical, full and rounded.
  • The breasts must be smooth in all proportions.
  • The breasts must be without dumpling, retractions or masses.
  • The nipples and areola should be everted and not inverted.
  • Rashes or nipple discharges must be absence.

Read also  Breast cancer; what women need to know.

Breast self-examination procedure

Breast self-examination can be done when:
  • Lying down.
  • Standing or sitting in front of the mirror.

Breast self-examination while 'lying down'.

  • Lie down on your back.
  • Put a pillow under your right shoulder and place your right arm behind your head.
  • Use your finger pads (tips of your fingers)  of your three middle fingers of your left hand to feel for lumps or hardness in your right breast.
  • Press your breasts firmly against the chest wall firmly enough to know how your breast feels.
  • Check for symmetry, lumps, or nipple retraction.
  • Move around your breast in a circular or up and down line or the wedge pattern, doing this will help you to ensure that you have covered the entire breast area.
  • Bring your arms down to the side and feel your armpit, this is where breast tissues are located.
  • Gently squeeze your nipple and observe for discharges or eversion after stimulation of your nipples. 
  • After this, switch to the left breast by repeating the steps you did to your right breast.
  • If any changes or abnormalities like lumps, rashes or discharges (except in pregnant or breastfeeding women) are found, report to your health care provider immediately. Lumps detection should be reported to your physician or nurse immediately, it might not be cancer but there may need to carry out surgery, remove the lumps and test for cancer.

Breast self-examination while  'standing or sitting in front of a mirror’

  • Stand and face the mirror.
  •  Relax your arms by your sides or rest them on your hips, turn to the left and right sides and look.
  •  Bend or lean forward from your waist, raise your arms overhead.
  •  Stand straight with your arms raised over your head, then move your arms slowly up and down (check for free movement of your breast over the chest wall).

To all women out there, note that breast self-examination is one of the effective ways to detect breast cancer at early stages. Also, our health is important in order to prevent illnesses and promote our wellness.

 As females, we need to prevent diseases and promote our health in order to live a healthy and productive life, this can be achieved through:

  • Observing monthly breast self-examination.
  • Limiting our alcohol consumption
  • Avoid smoking.
  • Good personal hygiene.
  • Eating a healthy diet including fruits and vegetables.
  • Periodic pelvic examination.
  • Monitoring of blood pressure regularly.
  • Regular checking of blood sugar level.
  • Engaging in physical exercises.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Drinking a lot of water.

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