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Breast cancer awareness is the need of the hour. The cases of breast cancer are rising at an alarming rate in India as compared to the western countries. This makes the need of doing a self-breast assessment necessary. If you don’t know how to do a self-breast examination, we have a step-by-step guide to do it.
Health Shots spoke to Dr Mandeep Singh Malhotra, Department of Oncology, CK Birla Hospital, Delhi to know the need for breast cancer awareness and how to do a self-breast examination.
Dr Singh says, “Self-breast examination makes one conscious of any new changes in the breast for identification of breast cancer at an early stage. It is an important screening tool when combined with regular physical examinations by physicians and routine mammograms for detecting early signs of breast cancer. It is a convenient and no-cost diagnosis that can be performed regularly and at any age. It helps women in being familiar with how their breasts normally look and feel by reporting any changes to the doctor right away.”
1. Women should look at their breasts by standing in front of the mirror with their shoulders straight and arms near the hips. Things to be noticed during self-breast examination are changes in the skin color or texture or changes in size, shape, and symmetry of the breast.
2. The second step is to raise arms and look for the same things mentioned in step 1. Additionally, look for nipple discharge as well.
3. Women should also lie down and examine the breasts by feeling them from front to back and in circular motions to notice any lump, pain, or tenderness.
4. The same examination should be repeated in a sitting position too.
5. If a woman notices or feels any lump, they should not panic as most women have breast lumps but they should not be painful. The best thing to do is to consult a doctor for further evaluation.
You may also understand the process of self-breast examination through initial demonstrations by a physician.
Women should choose the time of examination based on their menstrual cycle. An ideal time to do it is one week after menstruation. Self-breast examination includes both visual inspection and hand examination of the breasts. By doing a regular self-breast examination, a woman can detect breast cancer at an early stage.