Helpful Hints on Conducting a Breast Self-Exam

Whether you have heard about it before or not, breast self-exams are a very important part of a woman’s health. Breast Self-Exams, also often called BSE should be done on a regular basis to prevent breast cancer. Breast exams are conducted to feel for knots and other abnormalities and should be done more often than the one checkup per year.

Any type of cancer is unwanted and can be life threatening, but besides those scary factors, you might also loose your breasts due to breast cancer. Studies have shown that regular breast self-exams together with regular physician checkups reduce greatly the risk of cancer.

At first you might feel wired or unsure, about what exactly you are felling, but the more often you feel it the better. If you just had a checkup and your doctor said everything seems to be fine, due a checkup soon after yourself to get the feeling for what feels like it belongs in your breasts. There are a few different structures in a woman’s breast and they all feel alike the first time you check your breasts and they all feel somewhat like a knot. But if you keep checking you will get a fell for the different parts and you will be able toe tell if something shows up that was not there before. Basically get in the habit of checking your breasts on a regular basis. It is recommended to check at least once a month as well as checking after different events, such as your period that might make your breasts swollen and tender. Also, do not be scared if you do feel a lump, many women have lumps in their breast and 90 percent of all lumps removed are benign, which means as much as non-cancerous.

One good way to check your breast is by stroking in a star like manner towards the nipple and covering all the areas on the breast. Other methods such as circling motions are gentle kneading are also good for checking your breasts. The insides of your breasts feel like lumps, pebbles and sandy beaches and to get comfortable with what you feel, try out the different techniques available. Your OBGYN can give you hand outs with the different techniques available. These hand outs have pictures and descriptions of how to do it and what to feel. For example the area under the arm pits has more lumps and bumps than other areas and the area around your nipple can feel almost oatmeal or bigger grains.

More important than knowing what you are feeling is recognizing if something has changed. Is there a lump that was not there before, or does a lump seem like it is getting bigger? These observations can be gained over a certain period of time, such as one month or even several months’ worth of self-exams.

A good advice for some women is to keep a journal or a diary about what you feel. Keeping record of when you did your exam and what you felt where can be a great help to a woman. It will not only help you remember and keep track of your monthly date, it will also help you recognize changes or new occurring lumps. Remembering your regular self-exam as well as physician’s checkups can reduce your risk for cancer and also reduce the number of needless biopsies. During a biopsy procedure, a doctor takes a small sample of the affected breast tissue and examines it to determine whether the lump is cancerous or not. Keep up to date on those breast self-exams and make sure that your breasts are healthy.

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