Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women. Diagnosed early, breast cancer has a good chance of being cured.
Certain screening procedures scan only be carried out by a health professional: mammography or clinical breast examination. However, it is important to be alert to your body's signals, so as to be able to detect the early signs of breast cancer. Early detection of breast cancer is very important, because the earlier it is detected, the better it will be treated.
How do I perform breast self-examination?
- During the examination, your position must allow you to see your breasts clearly. Put yourself in a natural position (arms at your sides and back straight), so that you can spot any asymmetries in your breasts. Make sure you have a mirror in front of you. Visual examination is just as important as palpation, which is not enough.
- Visual examination: simply observe your breasts in the mirror for any abnormal nipple discharge, spots, cracks, folds, scabs, scales or anything else that might be unusual. For the visual examination, it is also advisable to adopt several postures. (arms at sides, arms raised, hands on hips, leaning forward, lying on side)
- Breast self-palpation: simply raise your left arm and gently palpate your left breast with your right hand: from the outside in, looking for lumps, pain or itching. Do the same for the area between the breast and the armpit, then for the armpit itself. You can then repeat the operation on the right breast.
Nipple self-examination: gently squeeze the nipple to check for discharge. SIf there's a discharge when you're not pregnant or breastfeeding, consult a healthcare professional. If your nipple is painful, inflamed or retracted in on itself, consult a doctor!
We also recommend that you examine lthe area between the two breasts.
There are 3 different palpation methods:
The vertical palpation method: palpation is performed from top to bottom, starting at the top of the armpit.
The radial palpation method: by making straight lines, starting from your nipple, towards the outside of the breast.
The circular palpation method: spiraling from the top of the armpit to the nipple
What are the warning signs of breast cancer?
There are a number of warning signs, such as: redness, discharge, visible masses or lumps, hollows, retracted nipples, skin texture deterioration, change in breast size or shape, areola color change, persistent eczema or nipple ulceration, enlarged lymph nodes, thickening or hardening of the skin.
When and how often should self-calpation be performed?
Ideally, self palpation should be performed every month, a few days after the end of menopause. periods or on a fixed date if you've reached menopause. The examination is recommended for all women, regardless of age (because even though breast cancer is rarer, it can also affect young women).
Self palpation is therefore an important habit to get into. However, in no way does it replace regular visits to your gynaecologist, GP or midwife.
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50% of our profits will be donated to breast cancer research.