These exams should be performed monthly around the time of ovulation and preferably while showering. It's vitally important to know your body, and the symptoms in order to confront any signs of change by an appointment with your doctor.
Adult women of all ages are encouraged to perform breast self-exams at least once a month. Johns Hopkins Medical center states, “Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, so establishing a regular breast self-exam is very important.” While mammograms can help you to detect cancer before you can feel a lump, breast self-exams help you to be familiar with how your breasts look and feel so you can alert your healthcare professional if there are any changes.
How should BSEs (Breast Self Exams) be performed?
1. In the Shower
With the pads/flats of your 3 middle fingers, check the entire breast and armpit area pressing down with light, medium, and firm pressure. Check both breasts each month feeling for any lump, thickening, hardened knot, or any other breast changes.
2. In Front of a Mirror
Visually inspect your breasts with your arms at your sides. Next, raise your arms high overhead. Look for any changes in the contour, any swelling, or dimpling of the skin, or changes in the nipples. Next, rest your palms on your hips and press firmly to flex your chest muscles. Left and right breasts will not exactly match—few women’s breasts do, so look for any dimpling, puckering, or changes, particularly on one side.
3. Lying Down
When lying down, the breast tissue spreads out evenly along the chest wall. Place a pillow under your right shoulder and your right arm behind your head. Using your left hand, move the pads of your fingers around your right breast gently covering the entire breast area and armpit. Use light, medium, and firm pressure. Squeeze the nipple; check for discharge and lumps. Repeat these steps for your left breast.
Source(s): Johns Hopkins and ACS
The goal is to stay in touch with your body, to know your normalcy and to stay abreast of any changes. In order to detect a problem (if there is one) early, preferably a curable state with minimal treatment, concluding with a good prognosis and excellent outcome.
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