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How to Check for Breast Cancer

how to check for breast cancer

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There’s so many different examples in life where being proactive - taking action before you need to act - is hugely beneficial. This way of thinking is what’s behind having people having savings set aside for a ‘rainy day’ as the expression goes. There are all sorts of other choices people make in the interest of being prepared. When it comes to detecting cancer, you want to be as prepared as possible by catching it early so that you maximize your chances of overcoming it. For women, knowing how to check for breast cancer is advisable for this reason.

Breast cancer is one of the more prevalent forms of the cancer in women. While some may believe that it’s a type of cancer that’s exclusive to women that’s actually not correct. Men can get breast cancer too, and it’s more common than most people would think. Many women know that they should be conducting breast self-examinations regularly after the age of 30, but most men have never given themselves an examination of this sort. It is true that women have a greater risk of it simply due to the more ample nature of the tissue in this region.

So what we’re going to go over here are the basics of how to check for breast cancer. Do keep in mind that these approaches are designed to provide women with clues that should prompt them to see their physician. Self-detection of this sort should not lead any woman to self-diagnose or assume the worst. Once you see your physician then he or she may arrange for you to have a mammogram so that a more definitive and legitimate diagnosis can be made, and medications like Tamoxifen may be prescribed.

Breast Cancer Self-Examination

The first step in how to check for breast cancer on your own is to give yourself a visual examination. Stand in front of a mirror that allows you to stand close and see your breasts well. For most people then one in front of the sink counter in your bathroom should do fine. Have your shoulders straight and your arms on your hips. Now look at your breasts and confirm that they are their usual size, shape, and color. Ideally you will see that they are evenly shaped without visible distortion or swelling.

For how to check for breast cancer, here is a list of changes that should lead you to make an appointment to speak with your doctor:

  • Puckering, dimpling, or bulging of the skin
  • Changes position of a nipple, or a nipple that has become inverted (pushing inward instead of facing outwards)
  • Redness, swelling, soreness, or the beginning of a rash

Next you should raise your arms straight above your head, but comfortably. No need to exert yourself or stretch too much. Look for any of these same changes listed above that might become clear with your skin stretched upward. Now also look for any fluid or blood coming out of your nipples. Look very closely, as if there is it may be in very small or even trace quantities. Some women learning how to check for breast cancer will wipe a small square of tissue over the area if their eyesight is not so good.

Look for Lumps

Now you no longer need the mirror, and the next part of how to check for breast cancer is to find somewhere (your bed being the most obvious location) where you can lie down flat on your back. Use your right hand to exam your left breast, and your left hand for your right one. Using your index and middle finger and keep them together as you begin your self-exam.

Move your fingers in a circular motion and in about the size of a quarter for each circle rotation. Progress all over the entire breast from top to bottom and side to side, moving from your collarbone to the top of your abdomen, and the from your armpit to cleavage. Try to be methodical in your movement so that you can be sure you have covered the entire breast before getting up and moving to the next one.

You can begin at the nipple, moving in larger and larger circles until you reach the outer edge of the breast. Moving your fingers up and down vertically in rows is also an acceptable way of doing this self-exam. Many women have related that they prefer the up-and-down approach. You must feel all the tissue from the front to the back of your breasts.

Another recommended technique with how to check for breast cancer is to use light pressure on the skin and tissue just beneath the skin. Next, for tissue in the middle of your breasts you will use medium pressure. Then apply firm and forceful pressure for the deep tissue in the back of your breasts. If you are applying enough pressure so that it’s uncomfortable or bordering on being painful, you’re doing it correctly and thoroughly enough for effective self-detection of cancerous lumps in the breast.

How to Check for Breast Cancer - Your Final Step

You’ll now be nearing the end of your effective breast cancer self-examination. What you’ll do know is sit down or stand up and use some water to wet your breasts. Some women will choose to do this step during their daily shower for convenience. You’ll want to fit your hand over the front of each breast and as much of it as possible. Use your fingers to squeeze the breast forcefully, squeezing first with all fingers and then using different combinations of them to find different specific pressure points.

Again, you’re looking to feel any lumps or irregularities in the tissue under the skin.

We’ll conclude here by saying that if you DO find lumps or hardened tissue in your breasts you shouldn’t go from zero to 100 on the concern meter. It’s quite common for women to have benign (non-cancerous) lumps in their breast, and that may well be what you’ve discovered with how to check for breast cancer. However, you MUST make an appointment to see your physician right away.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The above information is intended to increase awareness of health information and does not suggest treatment or diagnosis. This information is not a substitute for individual medical attention and should not be construed to indicate that use of the drug is safe, appropriate, or effective for you. See your health care professional for medical advice and treatment.

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