Breast Cancer Awareness and Performing A Self Exam
(Warning article does contain some graphic material)
What is breast cancer?
Breast cancer is a malignant tumor that starts in the cells of the breast. A malignant tumor is a group of cancer cells that can grow into (invade) surrounding tissues or spread (metastasize) to distant areas of the body. The disease occurs almost entirely in women, but men can get it, too. Breast cancer is less common in men because their breast duct cells are less developed than those of women and because their breast cells are not constantly exposed to the growth-promoting effects of female hormones. Every year however, there are about 2000 new cases of male breast cancer and around 400 men a year will die from breast cancer. Since most men don’t even think about the possibility of getting breast cancer, they generally ignore possible symptoms and wait too long to seek a possible diagnosis.
Breast cancer in women however is far more deadly. About 1 in 8 women in the United States (12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. Each year it is estimated around 40,000 women die from breast cancer. For women in the U.S., breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, besides lung cancer.
Breast Cancer Self Exam
One of the best measures in detecting breast cancer is doing regular self breast exams. By doing regular self exams, you can detect possible breast cancer earlier when treatment is more likely to be successful. While not every cancer can be found this way it is a good critical step to use. Self exams are a essential part of taking care of yourself and reducing risks. A good habit to get into is to do self exams at least once a month. Females should do checks at least twice a month.
How to do self exams:
*If you choose to do self-breast exam, follow the steps described below.
In the mirror:
1. Stand undressed from the waist up in front of a large mirror in a well-lit room. Look at your breasts. Don’t be alarmed if they do not look equal in size or shape. Most women’s breasts aren’t. With your arms relaxed by your sides, look for any changes in size, shape, or position, or any changes to the skin of the breasts. Look for any skin puckering, dimpling, sores, or discoloration. Inspect your nipples and look for any sores, peeling, or change in the direction of the nipples.
2. Next, place your hands on your hips and press down firmly to tighten the chest muscles beneath your breasts. Turn from side to side so you can inspect the outer part of your breasts.
3. Then bend forward toward the mirror. Roll your shoulders and elbows forward to tighten your chest muscles. Your breasts will fall forward. Look for any changes in the shape or contour of your breasts.
4. Now, clasp your hands behind your head and press your hands forward. Again, turn from side to side to inspect your breasts’ outer portions. Remember to inspect the border underneath your breasts. You may need to lift your breasts with your hand to see this area.
5. Check your nipples for discharge (fluid). Place your thumb and forefinger on the tissue surrounding the nipple and pull outward toward the end of the nipple. Look for any discharge. Repeat on your other breast.
In the shower:
1. Now, it’s time to feel for changes in the breast. It is helpful to have your hands slippery with soap and water. Check for any lumps or thickening in your underarm area. Place your left hand on your hip and reach with your right hand to feel in the left armpit. Repeat on the other side.
2. Check both sides for lumps or thickenings above and below your collarbone.
3. With hands soapy, raise one arm behind your head to spread out the breast tissue. Use the flat part of your fingers from the other hand to press gently into the breast. Follow an up-and-down pattern along the breast, moving from bra line to collarbone. Continue the pattern until you have covered the entire breast. Repeat on the other side.
1. Next, lie down and place a small pillow or folded towel under your right shoulder. Put your right hand behind your head. Place your left hand on the upper portion of your right breast with fingers together and flat. Body lotion may help to make this part of the exam easier.
2. Think of your breast as a face on a clock. Start at 12 o’clock and move toward 1 o’clock in small circular motions. Continue around the entire circle until you reach 12 o’clock again. Keep your fingers flat and in constant contact with your breast. When the circle is complete, move in one inch toward the nipple and complete another circle around the clock. Continue in this pattern until you’ve felt the entire breast. Make sure to feel the upper outer areas that extend into your armpit.
3. Place your fingers flat and directly on top of your nipple. Feel beneath the nipple for any changes. Gently press your nipple inward. It should move easily.
Repeat steps 1, 2, and 3 on your other breast.
What to Do If You Find A Lump
The most important thing to do if you find a lump or something unusual is not to “freak out”. A lot of lumps are in fact not breast cancer but sometimes something less serious. A lot of times, with women it is fibrous tissue related to their menstrual cycles. Some lumps will go away on their own by the end of a women’s menstrual cycle. Lumps that feel harder or different from the rest of the breast tissue (or the tissue of the other breast) or that feel like a change are a concern. When this type of lump is found, it is more likely to be breast cancer, though some benign breast conditions (such as cysts and fibroadenomas) can cause similar changes. See your health care provider if:
You find a new lump or change that feels different from the rest of your breast.
You find a new lump or change that feels different from your other breast.
Feel something that is different from what you felt before.
If you’re unsure if you should have a lump checked it is best to see your health care provider just in case. Too many people end up with more severe breast cancer complications because they don’t get things checked out early enough. Like the saying goes “Better safe than sorry!”
The breast cancer map:
*Statistics have shown that cancerous tumors tend to show up in certain areas of the breast more often than others. If you divide the breast into four sections, the upper outer, upper inner, lower inner, lower outer, and right behind he nipple, you can see the variances of where cancerous tumors show up.
As you can see by the chart almost 50% of tumors show up in the upper outer part of the breast (near the armpit). This is an area that physicians say should be examined closely when doing self exams. Edit Text
Breast cancer is a type of cancer that invades the cells of breast tissue. Breast cancer is a type of cancer that effect both men and women. While far less common in men, breast cancer does effect around 1percent of the male population each year. For women breast cancer is far more deadly, affecting 12 percent of the female population during the course of their lifetimes. Both men and women should do routine checks for changes in their breast at least once a month. Females should probably do checks more often at least twice a month. By doing regular check, there is more of a chance of detecting possible breast cancer earlier and lowering risk factors. If you detect a lump, don’t panic, watch it closely and if you’re not sure about what to do see your health care provider.
*from Web Md website- http://www.webmd.com/breast-cancer/guide/breast-self-exam Edit Text
*Disclaimer- This information in this article is not meant to treat, diagnose, prescribe or cure any ailment. Always consult a physician before you begin any new exercise program, start, stop, or change anything that has been previously prescribed…
Revised from Taylorednutrition.tripod.com/breastcancerselfexam.html