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A simple guide to breast self-exams every woman should know

Early detection of breast cancer can save lives.

Regular breast self-exams are important [BlackHealthMatters]

Breast self-exams are an easy and important way to help keep yourself healthy. By checking your breasts regularly, you can catch any changes early, which can help in finding issues like breast cancer when they are easiest to treat.

Understanding how to do these exams properly and knowing why they are so important can make a big difference in your health.

Read on to find out why regular breast self-exams matter and the simple steps on how to do them.

N.B: Breast self-exam is something you can do on your own, in the comfort of your home, and it only takes a few minutes.

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Breast self-exams are a key part of staying healthy because they help you understand what is normal for your breasts. This makes it easier to notice if something changes. Early detection of breast cancer can save lives.

When breast cancer is found early, it is easier to treat, and the chances of a full recovery are much higher. Regular self-exams also help you feel more in control of your health. They give you the power to take action if something doesn’t feel right.

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It is recommended to do a breast self-exam once a month. The best time to do it is a few days after your period ends when your breasts are less likely to be swollen or tender. If you do not have periods, choose a specific day each month that you can remember easily, like the first or last day of the month.

Doing a breast self-exam is simple and can be done in three main steps: in the shower, in front of a mirror, and lying down. Here’s how you can do it:

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  • Raise one arm: Raise your right arm and use the pads of your left-hand fingers to feel your right breast. Then switch sides.
  • Use different pressure levels: Use light, medium, and firm pressure to feel all the layers of your breast tissue.
  • Move in a pattern: Move your fingers in a circular pattern around your breast, starting from the outside and moving toward the nipple. Make sure to cover the entire breast area, including under the arms.
  • Look at your breasts: Stand in front of a mirror with your arms at your sides. Look for any changes in size, shape, or skin texture.
  • Raise your arms: Raise your arms overhead and look for the same changes.
  • Flex your chest muscles: Put your hands on your hips and press firmly to flex your chest muscles. Look for any dimpling, puckering, or changes in your nipples.
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  • Lie down: Lie down on your back with a pillow under your right shoulder and your right arm behind your head.
  • Use your left hand: Use your left hand to examine your right breast, using the same circular motions and pressure levels as in the shower.
  • Switch sides: Repeat the process for your left breast.
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When doing a breast self-exam, it’s important to know what to look for. Here are some things that might be concerning:

  • Lumps or thickening: A lump or an area that feels thicker than the rest of your breast.
  • Changes in size or shape: Any noticeable changes in the size or shape of your breasts.
  • Skin changes: Dimpling, puckering, or redness of the skin.
  • Nipple changes: Nipple discharge (other than breast milk), inversion, or changes in the appearance of the nipple.
  • Pain: Any unusual pain in one area of your breast.

If you find any changes during your breast self-exam, don’t panic. Most breast changes are not cancer. However, it’s important to see a doctor to make sure. Contact your healthcare provider if you notice any lumps, changes in size or shape, skin changes, or nipple discharge. They can perform further tests to determine if there is a problem.

Regular breast self-exams are a simple and effective way to monitor your breast health. By taking a few minutes each month to check your breasts, you can become familiar with how they normally look and feel. This can help you notice any changes early on and take action quickly.

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This content was created with the help of an AI model and verified by the writer.

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