From the time we women become teenagers, we're fascinated with our breasts. As we grow into adulthood, our breasts undergo almost as many changes as we do. Pregnancy, childbirth, menopause-all these stages cause transformations in our bodies that are hard to keep track of. |
Breast self-exam techniques can help us keep in touch with our "girls" and make us aware of changes that may need further investigation. For women with a family history of breast cancer, it is even more important that they know how to examine their breasts regularly to detect early changes, lumps, and cysts.
The effectiveness of breast self-exam (BSE) is beyond question as women who practice it regularly are responsible for finding 90 percent of all masses and lumps. Since you know your body better than anyone else, you are the best person to check for any changes.
If you find any changes, your OB/GYN professional will recommend a clinical breast exam, mammogram and/or a biopsy to detect breast cancer. This is the most common cause of mortality in women aged between 37 to 55 years. If you do have a cancerous lump, early detection is crucial to prevent it spreading and improve your prognosis.
Doctors recommend that women start self-exams as early as their 20s, so they can make it a habit. Do the test every month, a few days after your menstrual cycle. Menopausal women can perform the examination the same day every month.
Before your period, your body tends to retain water and the swelling and puffiness will make it more difficult to detect lumps. Some conditions such as benign or fibrocystic breast disease can cause cysts to form before your period. If you have doubts, checking again after your period is over will help you assess if the lumps have reduced. If they decrease in size, they are most likely benign.
With regular self-exams, it will be easier for you to detect changes, if any, and take action as early as possible. If you find hard lumps that are difficult to budge, you should take notice immediately and contact your OB/GYN as soon as possible. Even if you have breast implants, it's possible for you to do the BSE once you know where the edges of your implants are.
Also check for enlarged lymph nodes in or near your armpits. Enlarged nodes can indicate disease or infection and may need further tests. Check if your nipples are inverted or produce a discharge.
Puckered nipples can be an early indication of cancer, while discharge can indicate hormonal dysfunction or infections. Make sure you examine your breasts while you are standing as well as lying down.
It is best to ask your OB/GYN to teach you the BSE technique so you can do it properly. Learning to do a breast self exam can be one of the best things you do for yourself.
Spending quality time with your "girls" can help you understand the changes they go through every month and detect any lumps or abnormalities you may need to check out with your doctor. Not to mention the fact that it can prove to be a lifesaver.
In Hobart, obgyn recommend a gynecological examination regularly if you are a sexually active woman. Learn more about what a yearly consultation with your gynaec would involve, here http://www.gamahealthcareforwomen.com
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