October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This is an annual event which hopes to increase awareness of the disease and educate people. Although many people are already aware of this type of cancer, many still fail to take measures that will help detect breast cancer in its early stage. Early detection of the disease is key to beating it.
To detect breast cancer early on, you should be vigilant in regularly doing breast self-check. Here are tips on how to do breast self-exams.
- Use your eyes. Take a look at your breasts in front of a mirror. Your breasts will not be on the same level but if one is way lower than the other breast, then you should be concerned. Immediately book an appointment with your doctor or a breast specialist.
- Lie down on bed with a flat pillow on your head and raise one arm and tuck it in under your head. Use your three fingers (the index, middle and ring fingers) to check your breasts for lumps. If you feel any lump, set an appointment with a breast specialist. Use your chest bone and your armpit side as the lateral boundaries, your clavicle as the vertical or upper boundary and the lower boundary is where your breast ends. With your three fingers, start from the top (right under your clavicle and right before the chest bone boundary) and use circular motion to detect lumps. Go around doing the circular motion, making sure to include the armpit area and go inner going around until you reach the nipple. Once you reach your nipple, do the circular pressing motion and give it a squeeze. If anything squirts out like blood or any fluid, see your doctor or a breast specialist immediately. Do the same procedure for the other breast.
Breast Cancer Symptoms to Watch Out For
Remember to keep a watch out for the following symptoms:
- Lumps – The rule of thumb is if you feel any lump in your breast, schedule an appointment with your doctor to have them checked.
- Scaliness or Flaking of the Nipple – If you notice any scaliness or flaking of your nipple, set an appointment with your doctor. Scaliness or flaking of the nipple can point to what is called Paget’s disease of the nipple. About 95% of Paget’s disease of the nipple cases is associated with an underlying cancer.
- Fluid discharge – You should schedule an appointment with the doctor if you see any milky or bloody discharge from your nipple.
Remember to do regular breast self-checks and encourage others to do the same. Keep in mind the symptoms you should not ignore.
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