Guide On Self-Examination For Breast Cancer

The foundation of breast cancer control continues to be early detection. Early detection of breast cancer increases the likelihood that it will be successfully treated. Palliative care is required if the disease is discovered too late to relieve the patients' and their families' suffering.

Signs to look out for

While every woman's breast cancer symptoms are different, most involve changes in a breast appearance or sensation. The following are the breast cancer warning signs:
  • Breast swelling, a breast lump, or a change in breast size
  • Breast skin dimpling or thickening
  • Discharge from the breast, especially if it has blood traces
  • Pain in localised area, not relieved on medication

Any change in any part of the breast, please consult the physician. It's significant to remember that diseases other than breast cancer can also cause these symptoms. The primary indicator to look out for is a change in texture because the breast tissue is normally bumpy. Breast cancer may be indicated by a lump or mass that feels different from normal breast tissue. Having a doctor check these symptoms right away is the only way to be sure and get the best diagnosis possible.

Steps to Breast Self-Examination

The procedures for conducting a breast self-exam are listed below. Every month, you should check the breasts for any changes to their typical appearance or sensation. Inform the doctor of any changes. In addition to the yearly breast exam from the doctor, a self-exam should be performed.

Step 1: Lying Down

  • Lie down on the back with a support of a pillow under the right shoulder
  • Use the three middle fingers of the left hand to check the right breast
  • Press using light, medium and firm pressure in a circle motion without lifting the fingers off the skin
  • Follow an up and down motion
  • Feel for changes in the breast, between the collar bones and below the breasts and from midline of chest bone to the arm pit and below
  • Repeat the same on the left breast using the right hand
  • These steps can also be taken while showering using soapy hands

Step 2: In Front of the Mirror

Look for any changes from normal. Inspect the breasts in four steps:

  • Hold arms at the side
  • Hold arms over the head
  • Press the hands on the hips and tighten the chest muscles
  • Bend forward with the hands on the hips/back
  • Look for size of the breasts, any change in the lift or fall of the breasts while bending or any noticeable change from normal
Dr. Parul Garg
Additional Director
Department of Radiology
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