Do you examine your breast? Breast cancer is the second most frequent cancer and leading cause of death in women throughout the world. Progression of breast cancer is more rapid in younger aged women, especially of child-bearing age, as compared to older ones leading to a significant decrease in their survival rate. As a result, high mortality rate is mainly due to late detection and diagnosis of this medical condition related to lack of knowledge and awareness regarding breast cancer. However early detection of breast cancer increases the effectiveness of the treatment, thus, bringing about better prognosis and reducing the morbidity and mortality rates.
There are many methods for detecting breast cancer early-on in its course, breast self-examination is the most simple, convenient and assessible, inexpensive which do not require any specialized equipment or routine hospital visits. However, to examine your breast on a regular basis makes women familiar to the normal appearance and feel of their breasts and they are able to detect any changes in their breast as soon as possible.
Early detection of breast cancer increased the 5-year survival rate to 85%, while detecting it further on in the course brought the survival rate down to 56%.
Therefore, BSE is proposed as an assessible method of immense value for decreasing the mortality rate by early detection of breast cancer before mammograph and other diagnostic test.
How do you examine your breast?
Breast examination is a technique which allows an individual to examine his/her breast tissue for any physical or visual changes. It is often used as an early detection method for breast cancer. It should be performed at least once each month beginning at age 18.
Do your BSE 2-3 days after period.
STEP 1: look (inspection)
- Stand in front of a mirror
- Look closely at your breasts while viewing from the right and left as well as facing forward arms akimbo.
- This should be repeated while arm rose above head while bending forward, and hands on hips while hunching forward.
Check for changes in the following:
- Shape: Compare one to the other. One breast may normally be larger than the other, but sudden changes in size should not occur.
- Skin: Check for rash, redness, puckering, swelling, dimpling, or orange-peel-textured appearance.
- Nipples: Check for any changes such as a sudden inward, scaliness, redness, itching, swelling, or discharge.
Step 2: touch
After inspection of the breast, examination by touch is done. This is done while lying on bed with pillow under the shoulder.
- 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.
- Right hand on the fore head while using the left and vice versa.
- Use a firm, smooth touch with the flat pads of your hand, keeping the fingers flat and together not tip of finger. Use a circular motion.
- Make sure that you cover the whole breast by following a pattern that is, beginning at the nipple, moving in larger and larger circles until you reach the outer edge of the breast.
- Also palpating fingers can be move up and down vertically and ensure you feel all the from the front to the back of your breasts
- Palpate the entire breast from top to bottom, side to side — from your collarbone to the top of your abdomen, and from your armpit to your cleavage.
- Feel for lumps, pain, and hardness.
- Press nipple for discharge and note colour of discharge.
- BSE can also be done while standing or sitting. Left breast is checked by placing the arms over the head and feel with the right hand. Same done to the right , covering the entire breast as described above
If you think you feel a lump in your breast, do not panic. Some lumps or lumpy areas can be felt in the breasts at certain reproductive period; during ovulation, prior to period; thus it is best done few days after menses. However, most breast lumps turn out to be non-cancerous (benign). There are a number of possible causes of non-cancerous breast lumps which includes normal hormonal changes, a benign breast condition, or an injury.
Don’t hesitate to call your doctor if you’ve noticed a lump or other breast change that is new and worrisome.