Get to know your breasts better by doing a monthly self-exam(BSE).
Your breasts. If you’re a woman, they’re always within reach. It might be easy to take them for granted. But you need to make sure you give them all the attention they deserve: Do regular breast self-exams.
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and there’s no better time to start: Women should be doing breast self-exams monthly. Women should also get a clinical breast exam every three years starting at age 20. If you’re a guy and there are any important women in your life, you should encourage them to examine their breasts regularly.
Don’t think being young means you don’t need to worry about breast cancer. The disease can strike women in their 20s and younger. It’s the leading cause of cancer deaths in women 20 to 39. I used to think young women weren’t at risk, until a woman in my class — someone I played soccer with — was diagnosed sophomore year of my college. Thanks to early detection and treatment, she’s now in full remission. In fact, if breast cancer is caught early it is curable 97% of the time. So get in the habit of doing monthly breast exams now — and develop a healthy habit that should last a lifetime.
According to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, here are the instructions for breast self-exams. First, make sure you check your breasts at the same time each month so you can recognize changes. Look for lumps, hard knots, or skin that thickens or dimples. If you find any changes, tell your doctor immediately. Most breast lumps are not cancerous, but it’s better to be safe and find out for sure.
To examine your breasts and perform your Self Breast Examination, follow these steps:
1. Place a pillow under your right shoulder.
2. Put your right hand under your head
3. Check your entire breast area with the finger pads of your left hand.
4. Use small circles and follow an up and down pattern.
5. Use light, medium, and firm pressure over each area of your breast.
6. Repeat this process on your left breast.
In front of a mirror
1. Check for any changes in the shape or appearance of your breasts.
2. Take note of any skin or nipple changes.
3. Inspect your breast four ways:
* With your arms at your side
* With your arms overhead
* With your hands on your hips, pressing firmly to flex chest muscles
* Bending forward
Not sure if you’re doing it right? You can learn how by watching a video of Self Breast Examination online.
In addition to regular breast self-exams, according to Self magazine, there are other healthy habits you should adopt now to lower your risk of breast cancer now and as you get older. 1. Watch your weight
2. Eat a balanced, low-fat diet
3. Exercise regularly
4. Limit alcohol intake (preferably to one drink a day or less)
5. If and when you have children, nurse them.
Melissa Hicks encourages all women to take a few minutes a month to examine their breasts. They’re worth it.
Image courtesy : surrey.ac.uk