Thursday, April 14, 2011

Breast Self -examination Techniques


Step 1: Begin by looking at your breasts in the mirror with your shoulders straight and your arms on your hips. Then look for the following: · breasts that are their usual size, shape, and color. · breasts that are evenly shaped without visible distortion or swelling.

If you see any of the following changes, bring them to your doctor's attention: · dimpling, puckering, or bulging of the skin. · a nipple that has changed position or an inverted nipple (pushed inward instead of sticking out). · redness, soreness, rash, or swelling.

Step 2: Now, raise your arms and look for the same changes.

Step 3: While you're at the mirror, gently squeeze each nipple between your finger and thumb and check for nipple discharge (this could be a milky or yellow fluid or blood).

Step 4: Next, feel your breasts while lying down, using your right hand to feel your left breast and then your left hand to feel your right breast. Use a firm, smooth touch with the first few fingers of your hand, keeping the fingers flat and together.

Follow a pattern to be sure that you cover the whole breast. You can begin at the nipple, moving in larger and larger circles until you reach the outer edge of the breast. Be sure to feel all the breast tissue: just beneath your skin with a soft touch and down deeper with a firmer touch. Begin examining each area with a very soft touch, and then increase pressure so that you can feel the deeper tissue, down to your ribcage.

Step 5: Finally, feel your breasts while you are standing or sitting. Examine your breast, using the same hand movements described in Step 4.

Once a patient has symptoms suggestive of a breast cancer or an abnormal screening mammogram, they will usually be referred for a diagnostic mammogram. A diagnostic mammogram is another set of x-rays; however, it is more complete with close ups on the suspicious areas.

Depending on the results of the mammograms and/or ultrasounds, your doctors may recommend that you get a biopsy. A biopsy is the only way to know for sure if you have cancer, because it allows your doctors to get cells that can be examined under a microscope.

Once the tissue is removed, a doctor known as a pathologist will review the specimen and inform you of the presence or absence of cancer.



Monthly breast self-examination is recommended for all women above 20 years old. This includes women who have gone through menopause, are pregnant, breastfeeding, and those who have breast implants. This is done to detect breast changes that may lead to breast cancer. Performing breast self examinations regularly can help women become familiar with their breasts and become more skilled at determining what is and what is not normal.

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