Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of death among women today. This can be scary because it can rob you of your dreams, family and the future.
Although cancer per se has no cure, early detection works wonders and may save your life with just a simple breast self exam (BSE).
All you need is a half body sized mirror and the skills to do it. Remember that BSE should be done at least once a month ideally between 10th to 12th day after your 1st day of menstruation.
Example: if your last menstruation was May 7 you should perform BSE from May 16 to 17. Here are your steps to perform BSE:
1. Face the mirror and rest both arms at your side, then raise them sideways and finally raise them above your head.
Observe both your breasts in these 3 different positions if they are symmetrical, equal in size and shape, with smooth contour, with no dimpling and with no nipple discharge. Remember what you see for comparison in your next BSE.
2. Rest one hand at the back of your neck then use the other hand to palpate the breast on the same side of the arm that is raised. Palpate by using your finger pads doing a clockwise motion starting from the nipple until you cover the entire breast, then do a counterclockwise motion from the outer breast moving towards the nipple area.
Feel for any cyst or mass and then finally place your index and middle finger between your nipple and gently pinch it and observe for any discharge. After this palpate also the area just below your armpit.
3. Do the same procedure on your other breast.
Note: If you are already familiar with the procedure and the feel of your breasts you can also do this while in the shower. Note also that women from their early 20’s should start doing this procedure. If you feel and see anything unusual, visit your gynecologist immediately.