Early detection is one of the most important strategies for treating any health-related issue.
In the case of breast cancer, early detection is key to successful treatment as it improves the odds of survival and cure, as well as enable simpler and more cost-effective treatment.
This is why October is recognised universally as the Breast Cancer Awareness Month bringing everyone’s attention to the most common cancer affecting women both in developed and developing countries.
Every woman is encouraged to perform a monthly breast self-examination(BSE) as part of their overall breast cancer screening strategy.
According to research, the best time to do a monthly self-breast exam is about 3 to 5 days after your period starts. Women who have gone through menopause are to do the exam on the same day every month.
To begin, lie on your back, this is because it is easier to examine all breast tissue if you are lying down.
Place your right hand behind your head. With the middle fingers of your left hand, gently yet firmly press down using small motions to examine the entire right breast.
Next, sit or stand. Feel your armpit, because breast tissue goes into that area.
Gently squeeze the nipple, checking for discharge. Repeat the process on the left breast.
The next step is to stand in front of a mirror with your arms by your side.
Look at your breasts directly and in the mirror. Look for changes in skin texture, such as dimpling, puckering, indentations, or skin that looks like an orange peel.
Also, note the shape and outline of each breast.
Check to see if the nipple turns inward.
Do the same with your arms raised above your head.
The goal of this is to get used to the feel of your breasts. This will help you to find anything new or different. If and when that happens, contact your doctor immediately.