'Breast cancer and cervix uteri are two most common cancers in Indian women', According to the Cancer Statistics, 2020: Report From National Cancer Registry Programme, India. The burden of breast cancer is highest, especially in metropolitan cities. Undoubtedly, the chemotherapeutic treatments for breast cancer have significantly improved from the past.
However, some of the women suffering from this cancer might face the pain of removing breasts. It happens when the cancer becomes malignant and spreads in all tissues of the breast.
This heart-broken problem can be solved, if females start examining their breasts at the right time and right age. Every girl should know this method.
This helps you to examine any breast lumps or tumor at the right time and you can safely get treatment for this without getting mastectomy.
Things to note: Along with a proper breast examination, also know these breast cancer preventive tips.
Let's start the process of breast self examination:
1. Do Visual Examination
Sometimes the signs of breast cancer are visible. You just need to not ignore them.
- Stand or sit braless and shirtless in front of the mirror.
- Keep face forward and examine the breast for any dimpling, puckering, unequal size, shape or symmetry.
- Examine the nipples and check if they turned in.
- Check the breasts by keeping your hands down to your hips.
- Check the breasts with by raising your arms upwards.
- Lift the breasts to look ridges are symmetrical or not.
2. Do Examination Using Hands
To do manual examination:
- Lie down on your back using the pillow under your right shoulder.
- Exert pressure on the breast using hands and inspect your breasts. For this use pads of your fingers. Try to use three middle fingers.
- If you are having problems with the pads, use another part of your hand, which is a little more sensitive. For instance, palm or back side of fingers.
- To examine the upper skin, exert light pressure. Further, the pressure can be increased (firm pressure) for finding a lump or problem on the tissues closest to chest and ribs.
- You can use methodical ways to cover the whole breast.
However, if you are having problems with breast self exam, you can book your appointment to a gynecologist. It is an important thing as it can help you in early detection of cancer. A little ignorance can cause a major problem.
3. How to know you are at risk getting breast cancer?
You should consult your doctor, in case:
- Prominent changes in the breast size
- Feel swelling, redness, pain or itching
- A hard knot or lump near the underarm
- Ridges, puckers or dimples on breast skin
- Blood discharge from the nipples
- Inverted nipples
However, breast self examination is not a reliable method. Tumor can spread its arms in the breast tissues without giving any alarm. Therefore, after a certain age you should go for breast screening.
4. When to start breast screening?
- The females of age 40 should start doing mammograms.
- Make your routine to do mammograms every year if you are above 45.
- The USPSTF recommends women between the ages of 50 to 74 should go for mammograms every two years.
- Other than mammograms, breast MRI is also available.
Consult your doctor an start your screening accordingly.
Follow these steps to reduce the risk of breast cancer. Do you know, males can also get breast cancer. Read here to know more 'Male Breast Cancer: Symptoms, Causes & Treatments'.