Breast cancer is the most common disease among women around the globe. According to the World Health Organization, this disease is the major factor that causes hundreds of thousands of deaths in women every year. Also, it is leaving no country being affected at all levels of modernization.
Women aging 50 years or more should self examine their breasts at least once a month. You can also use mammograms to detect any tumor in the breasts. It would also help you to inform your doctor about any changes in the breast on the right time. Despite this, you can also perform a self-examination to be familiar with how your breasts look and feel. So you can describe your physician if any changes occur to your breasts. Before learning about the self-examination techniques, let’s know what is breast cancer?
Breast cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer cells) start to grow abnormally in the tissues of the breast. This abnormal growth can occur in different parts of the breast.
Female Breast Cancer:
A female breast consists of three parts;
1. Lobules: Lobules are the glands that are responsible to produce milk.
2. Ducts: These are the tubes that consist of connective tissues. The main function of ducts is to carry milk from lobules to nipples.
3. Connective tissues: These connective tissues are majorly composed of fibrous and fatty tissues.
Most of the breast cancer diseases in women occur in lobules and ducts.
Male Breast Cancer:
Often, women remain more concerned about breast cancer but it can also occur among males. Obviously, all people are born with some breast cells and tissue. Although men don’t have milk-producing breasts_ they can still develop breast cancer. Even so, there are very rare chances for male breast cancer.
Men can detect their breast cancer as a hard lump underneath the nipple and areola. Even only one in a thousand men becomes a victim of this cancer. But there is more mortality rate in male breast cancer. Because most men don’t assume that a lump in their chest is breast cancer. This ignorant behavior leads them to delayed diagnosis and most frequently death. The majority of men develop breast cancer at the age of 50 or more.
Women with certain increased risk factors are more likely to become affected by breast cancer. A risk factor is something that may increase the chance of developing cancer in the breast. Some of the risk factors that cause breast cancer include;
- Alcohol consumption.
- Family history of breast cancer.
- Dense breasts.
- Previous radiation therapy.
- Reproductive history.
Some of the risk factors are avoidable such as reducing alcohol consumption, resuming breastfeeding, and avoiding obesity. While you can’t change some risk factors i.e. reproductive history, age, and inheritance. However, having a risk factor doesn’t determine that a woman will get breast cancer. Generally, many women who have risk factors never get affected by breast cancer.
How To Perform Self_ Examination For Breast Cancer?
1. During Taking Bath:
Press your breasts and armpits with pads/flats of your 3 fingers. Press the whole area with a light, medium and firm pressure. Regularly check both the breasts every month. If you ever feel any changes, lump, thickening or hardened knot then you should consult your doctor immediately.
2. In front Of A Mirror:
If you want to visually inspect your breasts then stand in front of the mirror. Raise your arms high overhead and observe your chest. Perform the following procedure to diagnose breast cancer.
- Detect any change in the contour, swelling, dimpling of the skin or any problem with the nipples.
- Rest your hands on your hips. Now press your hips firmly to flex chest muscles.
- If you feel any pain, hump or dimpling of skin then it might indicate that you have got breast cancer.
3. Lay Down:
When you lay down_ the breast tissues spread out evenly along the chest wall. Now take a pillow and place it under your right shoulder. Put your right arm behind your head. Using your left hand, feel your right breast by moving the pads of your fingers gently. Cover the entire breast area and armpits with your finger pads. Follow the same procedure with your left breast as well. You can have different levels of pressure i.e. light, medium, and firm. After that, squeeze your nipples, check if any discharge of liquid occurs from the nipple from both the breasts.
Is Self-Examination Enough To Diagnose Breast Cancer?
A screening test is used for the early detection of breast cancer. On the other hand, mammography is an important procedure to detect tumors. If you perform regular medical care and follow appropriate guidelines then self-examination can help you to detect any changes. Ultimately, you will be better able to report any changes to the healthcare providers.
As soon as you diagnose any change in your breasts, immediately schedule an appointment with your doctor. You don’t need to panic — since 8 out of 10 lumps are not cancerous.
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