Latest posts by Dr Navneet Goyal (see all)
- 11 Dangerous Heart Attack Symptoms: Early Signs Of Coronary Artery Disease - February 21, 2017
- Big News: Heart Stent And Angioplasty Cost Slashed By 85% - February 16, 2017
- Are You Getting Enough Vitamin D? Top 7 Sources Of Vitamin D Rich Foods That Heal - February 8, 2017
Breast Self Examination in Easy Steps
WHAT IS B.S.E. (BREAST SELF EXAMINATION)?
BSE stands for Breast Self Examination. One wonders, what makes this so important? This is a screening method used against the Breast Cancer to diagnose and treat it in the early stage. It has a set number of defined practical steps that shall be done by women regularly to aid against cancer.
WHY AND WHEN B.S.E. IS NECESSARY?
Breast Self Examination should be performed once each month beginning at the age of 20 years and continue monthly through a woman’s lifetime.
WHO IS AT RISK OF DEVELOPING BREAST CANCER?
The factors that govern the risk of getting Breast Cancer are grouped into various sections. To start with, let me clarify one big, widely unknown truth about the Breast Cancer, which is: Even males can acquire Breast Cancer. Yes, the Breast Cancer!! But this is very, very rare.
As explained earlier in my previous Blog Post : Secrets of Cancer, I had explained two causes of acquiring Cancer. One is Genetic which appears to be non-modifiable while second is Environmental factors such as your Habits, Lifestyle, Space you live in, and the list is too long. This environmental cause is modifiable as it relates to the factors that you can control.
Genetic causes that lead to Breast cancer are:
- Being a woman (As already pointed that Even Males can acquire Breast cancer) is an obvious risk factor for developing Breast cancer.
- Increasing age brings more Invasive type of Breast Cancer
- Genes for Breast Cancer: Mutations (Gene Defects) in two gene families BRCA1 and BRCA2 are responsible for development of Hereditary Breast Cancer. Women with these inherited mutations also have an increased risk for developing other cancers, particularly ovarian cancer. There are other gene mutations too that lead to the development of Breast Cancer.
- With a Family History of Breast Cancer, the risk is higher among women whose close blood relatives have this disease. Having one first-degree relative (mother, sister, or daughter) with breast cancer approximately doubles a woman’s risk. Having 2 first-degree relatives increases her risk about 3-fold.
Lifestyle related (Environmental) Risk Factors for development of Breast cancer are:
- Higher risk accumulates for those women who have had no children or who had their first child after age 30.
- Use of Oral Contraceptives and DMPA (Injectable form of Progesterone Hormone) seems to have an increased risk of developing the Breast Cancer.
- Use of HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) after Menopause seems to have the similar picture of increased cancer risk.
- Drinking Alcohol seems to have an increased risk as compared to the non-drinkers, though alcohol predisposes to various other types of Cancers in the body.
- Physical inactivity and Obesity mainly after menopause seems to have an increased risk for developing the Breast Cancer.
Recently, New Emerging risk factors have been added to this making it more complex and life threatening. They are:
- Light exposure to the body at night
- Very low Vitamin D levels
- Chemical exposure through Cosmetic items, Processed Foods, Plastics, etc.
- Unhealthy food specially in the younger age group
The Emerging Risk factors are being studied in greater detail to curb the ill effects of Breast Cancer in the community and Breast Self Examination can provide a shield against the breast cancer by detecting it in the early stages.
WHAT ARE THE PRACTICAL STEPS FOR BREAST SELF EXAMINATION?
The most effective way to detect breast cancer is by mammography, and a clinical Breast Self Examination can complement mammography screening.
The practical steps for Breast Self Examination are explained below:
Undress from the waist up in front of a large mirror in a well-lit room.Look at your breasts. Let arms relaxed by your sides, look for any changes in Size, Shape, or Position, or any Skin changes on the breasts. Look for any skin puckering, dimpling, sores, or discoloration. Inspect your nipples and look for any sores, peeling, or change in the direction of the nipples. Check on the sides and with your breasts falling while you bend forward.
Remember to inspect the border underneath your breasts. You may need to lift your breasts with your hand to see this area.
Always check your nipples for discharge (fluid). Place your thumb and forefinger on the tissue surrounding the nipple and pull outward toward the end of the nipple. Look for any discharge. Repeat the same Breast Self Examination on your other breast.
Now, feel for changes in the breast. Check for any lumps or thickening in your underarm area. Place your left hand on your hip and reach with your right hand to feel in the left armpit. Repeat on the other side. Check both sides for lumps or thickenings above and below your collarbone. This way you can check the swollen lymph nodes.
Raise one arm behind your head to spread out the breast tissue. Use the flat part of your fingers from the other hand to press gently into the breast. Follow an up-and-down pattern along the breast, moving from bra line to collarbone. Continue the pattern until you have covered the entire breast. Repeat on the other side.
Now, lie down on a flat surface and place a small pillow under your right shoulder. Put your right hand behind your head while placing your left hand on the upper portion of your right breast.
During entire process of your Breast Self Examination think of your breast as a face on a clock. Start at 12 o’clock and move toward 1 o’clock in small circular motions. Continue around the entire circle until you reach 12 o’clock again. Keep your fingers flat and in constant contact with your breast. When the circle is complete, move in one inch toward the nipple and complete another circle around the clock. Continue in this pattern until you’ve felt the entire breast. Make sure to feel the upper outer areas that extend into your armpit. Place your fingers flat and directly on top of your nipple. Feel beneath the nipple for any changes. Gently press your nipple inward. It should move easily.
This is the way to perform Breast Self Examination as a screening tool to prevent and early diagnosis of Breast Cancer. Spread the message for health awareness and healthy living. Stay happy and stay blessed!