Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Self Exams

If you aren’t aware, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Breast cancer effects about 1 in 8 US women. That means 12% of the women in the United States will develop a form of invasive breast cancer at some point in her lifetime. Breast cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed form of cancer, second to skin and as of March 2017, there were more than 3.1 million women in the United States with a history of breast cancer, whether they are currently in treatment or have finished. All in all, breast cancer is something that all women should be aware of and checking for on a monthly basis! Checking yourself for breast cancer is very easy but many women don’t take the time to do it, which unfortunately could help to detect breast cancer in earlier forms to possibly get treatment quicker.

A self exam will help you to notice lumps or thickenings in the breast. If you do notice anything out of the ordinary, it’s important to bring it to the attention of your doctor. They will be able to tell you if what you’ve found is something to worry about or just something normal in the body. Be sure to also let your doctor know that you’re doing self exams and ask them if they have any additional input on the topic to help you stay healthy!

To perform a self check exam, stand in front of a large mirror in a well lit room, undressed from the waist up. Leave your arms relaxed by yours sides and look for any changes in size, shape, or position. It’s important to note that most breasts are not identical so don’t worry if the two that you have don’t seem to be the same size! You’re looking for sudden changes or things that weren’t “like that” before. Also look for changes in the skin, suck as puckering, dimpling, discoloration, or sores. This is particularly important around the nipples.

Place your hands on your hips and firmly push down so that the chest muscles under your breast tense up. Look at the outer part of the breasts in the mirror and then bend forward. Roll your shoulders forward to tighten the muscles even more. Your breasts will fall forward and you should note any changes in shape or contour when they do this.

Clasping your hands behind your back, push your hands forward in the the small of your back. Turn from side to side to inspect the outer edges of the skin. Again, note any discoloration, lumps, or changes in shape. Don’t forget to check underneath the breasts; you may need to use a hand to lift them.

The last step in your self exam is to inspect the nipples. Be sure that they are not discharging any fluid. Taking a thumb and forefinger, squeeze the surrounding tissue around the nipple and pull outward. If there is any discharge when doing this, inform your doctor. Repeat this process on the other breast.

Here at MALS, we know what a toll breast cancer can take a person and those close to them. Throughout the course of October, we will be sharing all different kinds of blogs regarding breast cancer, products that are great for those in treatment, and other words of advice and information! If you have any additional questions, please stop by the shop or give us a call at (603)626-5956.

About the Author: M has been a professional blogger for six years and has contributed to various websites. When she is not writing, she is a professional body piercing apprentice. M can be reached at m@spider-bite.com and you can find her piercing only blog HERE.

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