Did you know that your breast can feel and look different during your menstrual cycle?
Yes, that’s correct.
Just as how your body undergoes changes during different stages of life, your breasts can also look and feel different from time to time. For example, when you’re pregnant or have periods, your breast will most likely look and feel different too.
This provides the key to breast cancer awareness. Being breast aware is like a risk analysis tool! So, when you notice something suspicious, you can meet your doctors to find out what is going on.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and here at Territory Medical, we’re serious about breast health.
Here are the 4 steps to do a breast cancer check at home
Step 1. With hands in your hips and straight shoulders, look yourself in the mirror
Visually inspect and look for anything that doesn’t seem normal.
Look for changes in your skin texture, contour, dimpling of the skin, rashes, or swelling. The idea is to look for just about anything that you feel is different or changing. Often, breast cancer starts on one side, with the left breast about 5% to 10% more likely to develop cancer than the other side.
Pro tip – Compare if both the breast are evenly shaped and sized without any visible changes.
Step 2. Now, raise your hands and repeat everything you did in step 1
Do you notice any difference? Or does the skin look different? Do you also see any fluidic discharge from the nipples?
Just what you did in the first step, keep an eye on any changes, this time with your hands raised.
Pro tip – Remember, the only way to be breast-aware is to repeat these steps once every month.
Step 3. Next up, lie down in bed and feel your breast
Lying down to feel your breast is advised because the breast tissue is evenly spread out along the chest wall.
Start by placing a pillow under the right shoulder just behind the head. Now use your left hand, and keeping a firm pressure, cover the entire area to feel for anything suspicious.
We recommend following a circular pattern, large enough to cover one-quarter of your breast area at a time. Be sure to check the entire breast tissue using firm and gentle pressure.
Pro tip – Apply enough pressure so that you’re able to reach deep breast tissue until you feel the ribcage. Repeat the same process on the other side.
Step 4 – Stand up or sit in a straight posture, and repeat step 3
Just as what you did in step 3, use firm, gentle pressure to feel your breasts on both sides with the exact circular pattern while standing or sitting on a chair. Remember, you need to maintain a straight posture.
Look for any lumps, hardened knots, thickening of the skin, and other changes.
Pro tip – You might find it easier to combine steps 3 and 4 while taking a shower.
What to do if I notice anything suspicious?
While it is unlikely that anything unusual would mean breast cancer, you shouldn’t hesitate to meet your doctors to seek their advice.
It is normal to have some lumps, and most breast lumps turn out to be benign but not cancerous.
And in case you find something concerning after your breast health check or have any questions regarding your breast health, come and see us at our clinic.