Of all the cancers that women can be diagnosed with, breast cancer is one of the most deadly. Breast cancer kills more women than any other type of cancer outside of lung cancer. It is a medical issue that all women need to be concerned with, but especially women who are over age forty.
At age forty women need annual screenings for breast cancer. In addition to coming in for an annual screening you should be performing self breast exams at home. If you feel that you find a lump you will want to come in to see a medical expert. Self breast exams are relatively easy to perform as long as you know what you are doing.
Proper Breast Exam Procedure
- Lay down on your back. This allows the tissue in your breasts to be spread evenly across your body.
- Stretch the arm that is on the same side of your body as the breast you are inspecting behind your head.
- With the hand on the opposite arm take 3 fingers and compress them against your breast in a circular motion. Be sure to cover the entire breast. You are feeling for lumps, bumps or bulges that are out of place.
- You will do this 3 times with 3 different levels of firmness: lightly, moderately and firmly
- To finish, gently squeeze your nipple. You are looking for any discharge.
It is often easier for women to remember to perform a self exam if it is scheduled at a time that is convenient. A little reminder is also helpful. In order to help women remember to take the time,
Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point offers free shower proof exam cards. Just call 1-888-741-5119 and request that we mail you this helpful guide that you can hang in the shower to give you a visual aid and a little nudge.
If you feel any lumps or see any discharge you will want to consult a doctor. Do not be worried immediately, many lumps that develop are non-threatening and do not constitute breast cancer. Regardless you will want to schedule an appointment with an oncologist, a doctor that specializes in cancer, and they will perform more extensive diagnostic tests.
There are other signs of breast cancer that you will want to be aware of that might be visible without the aid of a test. Be aware of changes in your body such as:
- Swelling Breasts
- Breasts that change to a darker color
- Dimpling of the skin of the breast
- Breast pain that starts abruptly and does not subside
- Inverting or changing position of the nipple
These other signs are additional clues that you may be developing breast cancer. As with the results of the self examination, if you see these things happening you will want to consult a doctor. It is important to pay attention to your body. Early diagnosis of breast cancer is the best way to beat the condition.
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