Breast cancer can affect women of all ages with only 10% being genetic in nature as most of the occurrence is spontaneous, unannounced and sporadic. A simple and effective step-by-step breast cell examination can help to detect early on any abnormalities, lumps or any color changes of your breast which helps enable successful treatment of breast cancer.

Among females, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer. Breast cancer can affect women of all ages crossing all ages and backgrounds, with the risk increasing for older women. Nevertheless, over 60% of women diagnosed are less than 50 years old. Only 10% is genetic in nature, but 99.9% of the cancer occurs spontaneously, unannounced and sporadic.

Meanwhile, many may believe that they won’t be afflicted by breast cancer since they have no medical record of breast cancer. But according to National Cancer Institute, majority of women who develop breast cancer do not fall into any other high risk category and do not have a family history of breast cancer. Therefore, no women are safe from being affected by breast cancer.

Unlike the cervix that you need a doctor to check on you, breast examination is always easier to be done by yourself by simply using the three fingers on each hand. Hence, there is no need for any extra expenses to pay for expensive testing, diagnosis or instrumentation to check for any abnormalities in your breasts that might reveal a possible presence of cancerous growth or abnormal lumps. You just have to spend about 15 minutes each month to keep an eye on your breasts.

Monthly Breast self-examination (BSE)

Even though mammography is not often suggested for a younger woman before the age of 40, it does not mean that you should only have your initial breast self-examination (BSE) check when you reach 40. Monthly self breast check can be a very useful tool for self surveillance and will help you recognize and have knowledge of whether your breast is normal or not. This monthly BSE will definitely assist you to understand your breasts better and help you to take appropriate measures as early as possible once the breast(s) is (are) diagnosed for unknown lumps or any painful areas.

This is certainly a solid reason to encourage younger women to perform monthly self breast checks since breast cancers tend to affect many younger women resulting in lower survival rates, making the early detection essential. Further, BSE is more important because many younger women are prone to have thicker or dense breast tissues causing the diagnosis done with only mammogram even more difficult. Once the change is detected, you can seek immediate medical assistance from a doctor to decide on appropriate treatment so that prompt treatment can be given at the initial stage of breast cancer.

Attention: After gaining the info regarding monthly BSE, please proceed to read how this BSE is done, and later manual and visual examinations. You should do all these steps to complete the self-examine on your breast for breast lump(s) or breast cancer.

Monthly BSE Technique

To ensure that you are doing right with this BSE technique, you should take timing into a serious consideration. You do not need to undergo daily self breast checks to feel the lumpiness of your breast tissue or real lump(s). This will cause you to get confused with the real breast lumps. This is to say that, the best timing for your monthly self breast checks is after your menstrual cycle from the time the mammaries develop after puberty, and the best period is typically 7-10 days after the first day of your menses. To help you remember this timing, it is advisable for you to conduct this BSE technique 5 days after your last days of menstrual periods.

For post-chemotherapy patients (due to cancer of one breast), post menopausal women or post-hysterectomy (who had their uterus removed) females should also examine their breasts once a month using this BSE technique. In this matter, they can decide one easily remembered date every month to help them better self-diagnose their breast (s). Similarly, lactating and pregnant moms are also advised to do so.

Basically, this BSE technique involves two parts with visual examination as the first check, accompanied by the manual examination.

Visual Examination

You are advised to do this visual examination in the bathroom. Stand in front of a mirror and ensure that the mirror is big enough for you to see yourself from the waist upwards. Now, stand still and look at yourself in the mirror from both the front and the sides. Next, raise your arms above your head and look at the front and also the sides.

Now, prior to stooping forward, put your arms on your waist. At this step, your breasts must fall forward. If not, there may be something that holds the breasts back, unless your breasts are relatively small in size.

Next, put your hands above your head and ideally, your breasts should now move upwards.

Look for any visible lump(s) near the neck area or at the collar bone, in the breast or at the armpit itself.

Examine your nipples closely and examine if they are inverted. If there is a change in your nipples that will certainly need your attention, and be sure if they are normal for you. Also observe around your nipple area for any rashes, or ulcers, which may or may not be itchy.

Look at the skin covering the breast paying close attention for any abnormal rash, dilated veins, any color change, dimpling, or redness. The skin may also sometimes appear as an orange peel or peau de orange.

Lastly, pay attention and check your breasts completely to ensure whether they are of different sizes or same sizes. Be aware of when they are of different sizes.

Manual Examination

Looking yourself into a mirror, use your left hand to examine your right breast. That means you have to use the flat of your left fingers but not the tip to gently press on the breast tissue that lies between your armpit, chest bone (the middle) and collar bone (above) by applying either radial motion, or a linear motion upward and downward, and even a circular motion. This manual examination (feeling your breasts) will help you to examine for any unknown lumps near the collar bone, at the armpit and the breast.

Again, use the flat of your right fingers to examine your left breast by repeating the examination mentioned. This is to feel all the breast tissue that lies between your armpit, chest bone and collar bone for any abnormal lumps.

Immediately after the examination of your armpit, chest bone and collar bone, check for any lumps at your neck. Look for any tender or painful areas that you may uncover as they may be signs of breast lumps. Later, use your hands to gently squeeze your nipples and watch for any abnormal discharge from the nipple.

The manual examination for breast lumps is only completed once you do according to the steps mentioned.

Author’s Note:

When only you learn to understand your breasts whether it is normal or not, and the knowledge of learning your breasts will help you better self-diagnose for any changes as early as possible so that a prompt treatment can be given. This in turn helps increase the survival rate of the breast cancer. If possibly, you are recommended to get an annual assessment by a doctor so that they could refer you to a specialist for an appropriate treatment.

Do not be scared or ill-informed by not seeing a doctor if you do not feel any pain in your breast lumps. Please know that pain is not an obvious symptom of breast cancer as it can go without pain. The earlier you seek out treatment the better chance for your cure and hence the higher the survival rate. Do not postpone coming to see the doctor until your cancer is at its chronic stage as the survival rate can be very low and more difficult to treat.

Final remark:

In case you are at the chronic stage of breast cancer, never give up on your life. Go for treatments as usual and do not succumb to feeling scared, anxious and stressed. Pray to God whole heartedly and imagine that all cancerous cells in your breast(s) turn into healthy cells every second in your life, exercise appropriately and accordingly and change your diet (preferably switch your acidic diets to alkaline diets by cutting off animal-based meats but taking plenty of fiber rich organically grown grains, veggies and fruits), take a good rest and sleep, and also take plenty amount of alkaline water.

I will be here praying for you for a miracle to come into your life! Never give up your life as there is always hope, a life after breast cancer! I wish you all the best!

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