As October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we’re encouraging you to face your fears head-on and not to let fear neglect your health. While breast cancer generally occurs in older-aged women, in about half the number of breast cancer cases occur in those under 50 years of age, and as such, tends to be more aggressive. This is why it is even more important to spread the message of breast awareness and early detection, as well as remind all women to check their breasts.
It’s vital really to check your breasts regularly, 15 minutes of your time could be responsible for adding another 15 years to your life.
5 easy steps
Undress from the waist up and stand in front of the mirror. Look in the mirror with your arms by your side. Notice the shape. Look for dimpling (a ‘dent’ in the smooth contour of the breasts) and nipple changes (such as a rash or ‘pulled in’ appearance). Look for differences between the two breasts.
Look at your breasts in the mirror with your hands on your hips and your chest muscles tightened. Again, look for changes in the breast shape, the nipple appearance or differences between the breasts.
Look at your breasts with your arms raised high above your head. The breasts should move up slightly and equally when the arms are raised. Areas of dimpling may be more obvious in this position.
Next, feel your breasts for lumps. This can be done while standing or lying, but is better when lying down. Use your flattened fingers to feel each part of the breast. This can be done in circles, in strips up and down the breast, or by examining each quadrant (quarter) of the breast in turn. The most important thing is to make sure that you feel the whole breast, as well as underneath the nipple.
Step 5: Finally, feel your breasts while you are standing or sitting. Many women find that the easiest way to feel their breasts is when their skin is wet and slippery, so they like to do this step in the shower. Cover your entire breast, using the same hand movements described in step 4.