You may have heard conflicting views on self exams and that stems from concerns that women don't know what they're feeling for so the first lump they feel frightens them and they get too scared to visit the doctor. This is why it's so important to KNOW YOUR BOOBS! By really exploring your breast tissue and asking your doctor for advice on what to look for you can learn which parts of your breasts are just bumpy and which bits need investigation.
The top 3 things to remember when doing a self breast exam are:
- Do it at the same time every 2-3 months so your breasts are at the same point in your cycle. 1 week after your period ends is best because any water retention and swelling will have gone.
- Lie down so that you're not working against gravity and you can work around the whole breast easily.
- Know that boobs are bumpy! Becoming familiar with the architecture of your boobs will tell you that they're made up of lots of bumps. Knowing which bumps are you and which are new is what saves lives.
Self breast exams are a great tool for early detection but there are other signs you can keep a look out for:
* Swelling, warmth, or redness in the breast
* Changes in size and shape of the breasts
* Puckering or retraction of the skin or nipple/new nipple inverstion
* Nipple discharge, especially bloody
* Itchy, scaly rash on the nipple
* Skin dimpling (like an orange peel)
* A lump under the arm/lymph node
* Pain associated with one spot, which doesn’t go away
* Sore, swollen, inflamed breast (a sign of rare inflammatory breast cancer)
Doing self breast exams should be a natural part of being a girl like needing rather than simply wanting shoes and buying chocolate in times of disaster. xx