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- Kunle Emmanuel
- Posts: 2149
- Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2012 5:02 pm
- Location: Lagos
Breast Self-Examination (BSE) is important in detecting breast cancer early. It is done once a month, a week after a woman’s monthly period. Through BSE, a woman becomes familiar with the usual appearance and feel of her breasts. This way, she can easily tell any change and consult a doctor immediately.
The earlier the diagnosis is done, the greater are the chances of successful treatment. The self-breast examination should be performed monthly for small abnormalities that can be detected and as soon as possible to seek medical attention.
This procedure must be performed by all women over the age of 20. At this age cancer is rare, and, therefore, it is ideal time to start the habit of self examination. The breasts are not homogeneous and they have small changes in texture and form that vary from woman to woman. The first few times of self-examination can be frustrating because of lack of understanding of what structures are being palpated, but starting the exam when still young and doing so frequently lead the patient become fully familiar with the particularities of their breasts over time, facilitating detection of any abnormality when they arise.
The best time for examination is one week after your period, when your breasts are less swollen and tender. For postmenopausal women it is ideal to establish a randomly fixed day of the month to carry out self-examination.
Steps to perform self-breast examination:
a) Put yourself standing in front of a mirror with your hands on your waist. Observe your breasts. Note their color, size, texture and shape.
b) Raise your arms and observe the breasts front and side. If they are bulky raise them so that the region hidden by the skin can be observed.
c) Lie on your belly up, and with your fingertips gently squeeze the breast. Make small circular movements. Switch the pressure that causes the fingers over the breast. Use your left hand to examine the right breast and right hand to examine the left.
d) Move from top to bottom and from bottom to top in a zigzag fashion, so as to cover the entire length of the breast.
This test may be repeated standing while you take a shower because wet skin is easier to examine.
The realization of self-examination of breasts in any way rule out the need for periodic medical evaluation. For those who are familiar with their breasts, an experienced doctor can detect small nodules with much more ease than patients.
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