BREAST SELF EXAMINATION – A step by step guide
This is a “do it yourself” (DIY) method of examining the breast, such that you become familiar with your breasts and you can report any changes if they occur. It should be carried out 3 to 5 days after your menses, and you should repeat this every month. If you detect any changes such as a lump, inverted nipple, or a swelling, it is best not to panic but report to your doctor. Of course, the breasts of a nursing mum may be lumpy. This is normal.
The steps are as follows:
- Stand in front of a mirror.Place your hands over your hips and note the shape of your breasts, the colour, any abnormal shape or swelling.There may be a difference in the size of both breasts usually which is normal.
- Place your hands behind your head and note the same features.
- Lie down flat.With your left hand placed firmly behind your head, use the flat surface of your right palm to feel your left breast. Do this in a continuous circular motion, and end up at the areola/ nipple area.Check your armpit as well. Express the nipple for any discharge. If bloody, report to your doctor as soon as possible.
- Repeat the same for the left breast.
- You can carry out steps 3 and 4 in the shower (without the lying down of course) with your wet hands, which would slip over the breasts easily and make the examination easier.
The more you do this, the better you become at it.
Remember that early detection and prompt treatment is the key to improved survival.
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