Most women find breast lumps on their own, but you don’t have to wait for a lump to appear before learning how to check your breasts at home. The majority of lumps are benign, and by finding them early, you can take better care of them.
You can check your breast health and catch any changes that could be expensive by self-examining your breasts. Every month, preferably any time after menses, but not a few days before menses when the breasts might be sore, it is advised for women over the age of 18, and it should be performed.
Pick a date of the month for breast self-examination if you are a postmenopausal woman who has ceased menstruating. You must ensure that you have routine breast exams since you are more likely than women who are still menstruating to have breast illnesses.
As your pregnancy progresses, you should anticipate noticing changes in your breasts, such as becoming fuller, heavier, and more tender. In the latter stages of your pregnancy, it’s acceptable to experience some discharge; this could be colostrum. However, you still need to perform breast self-examination despite these modifications. If anything, a self-examination allows you to spot any changes that might prevent you from breastfeeding and to talk to your caregivers about them during antenatal sessions.
Breastfeeding mothers can combine their self-examination sessions with nursing. For instance, you can examine each breast individually after emptying them. After nursing, checking yourself will lessen the likelihood that you’ll feel milk pockets and become concerned that they might be an odd bulge.
Whatever group you fall into, regularly checking your breasts will enable you to keep track of any changes as they happen.
First things first: Before you learn how to perform breast self-examination, keep in mind that while doing so can help you find benign lumps, it doesn’t hurt to add a clinical breast examination to the mix.
Your doctor should perform a more thorough examination and may suggest additional mammography or ultrasound scanning. The purpose of the breast self-exam is to inform you of the status of your breasts, not to take the place of a clinical evaluation.
Additionally, performing a breast self-examination is not a way to look for warning indications of danger. You are merely making sure everything is in order. As a result, you shouldn’t worry about anything and everything you learn from the exam.
Here are the fundamental procedures for a breast self-exam now that you are aware of the foundation guidelines.
The first step is to examine your breasts. Every time you shower, put on or take off your clothes, you can see your breasts. A visual self-examination of the breasts, however, necessitates a more methodical approach: you must halt and focus on the breasts for a few minutes.
Your shoulders should be straight while you stand in front of a mirror with your arms at your sides. Look at how the breasts, either one or both, seem. Be mindful of your breasts’ size, shape, color, and texture. Small variations in size are OK, but substantial variations should cause alarm.
Your eyes should travel along the contours of your breasts and the margins of your underarms. Keep track of any alterations to the breast skin, such as dimpling, bulging, or strange wrinkles.
Then focus on your nipples and the surrounding region that is dark (the areola). Examine the two nipples’ levels and look for any differences in their positions (whether it is pulling in or sticking out). Keep an eye out for any discharge coming from either one or both nipples.
Raise your arms and repeat the visual examination of both places after you have finished checking your breasts and nipples. To appear more representative, raise your arms to reveal your underarm and tense your breast ligaments.
Next, tighten your body by placing your arms on your hips. Your breasts will open up for another round of examination once your arms are on your hips.
The second step is to feel your breasts. In this phase, you should feel the area around your breast to check for any discomfort, hardness, or strange textures in the tissues. Use your right hand to feel around your left breast and your left hand to feel around your right breast after lying on your back to rest your breast tissues against your body. While both ways are acceptable, some ladies prefer to receive their massages while seated or in the shower.
Keep your fingers together, tight, and straight in whatever position you want. beginning with one side. Then, either from the nipples outward in a circular motion or from the edges inward to the nipples, feel around your breasts using the pad of your three middle fingers, not the tips.
To cover the entire area, stick to a predictable pattern. Starting at your nipples, spiral outward toward your cleavage, down to the base of your breast, sideways toward your armpit, and upward toward your collarbone. Continue in this pattern until your entire breast is covered.
You can also move your hands up and down in a column, left to right in a constant row, or whatever pattern is easiest for you. But once more, you want to cover every inch of your breast.
Apply mild pressure to the skin and outer layer of your breasts. Then, press firmly to feel the deep tissues near your ribs; press a little deeper to feel the middle tissues. Put the arm of the side you are massaging over your head at all times while massaging with the other hand.
Squeeze your nipples for discharge. That is the third step. The last step is to examine your breasts for any odd discharge. For women who are not pregnant or nursing, checking for a discharge is very important. In general, pay attention to the color, consistency, and possibly the smell of the discharge when it comes from your nipples. These characteristics need to distinguish between normal and abnormal discharge.
After all, these are done, stay cool no matter what the results of your breast self-examination are. It’s possible that you discovered a lump or noted an odd discharge. The majority of these symptoms may be brought on by hormonal fluctuations rather than being indicators of breast cancer.
In any event, if you discover something new or alarming, you should schedule a medical checkup. To help you decide what to do next, the doctor will assess your medical history, perform a physical exam, or prescribe certain tests. Your visit to the doctor should also enable you to ask for any queries you may have.