While breast health is extremely important every day of the year, we’re bringing more awareness and focus to it during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. One of the things we’re sharing has to do with making sure we’re on top of our breast health, even between doctor’s appointments. This is where staying in tune with our bodies is key. We’re sharing the ways that are best to give yourself a breast self-check, to make sure you’re aware of any changes that need to be looked at by a healthcare professional.
A doctor in medical oncology told Ellie that women should seek breast care. She said that the most important thing is for women to start getting mammograms at age 40. Screening mammograms save lives, age 40 and older. She stressed the importance of getting screened and seen by a physician, and that you should be doing a self-check once a month.
According to Johns Hopkins Medical Center, “Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, so establishing a regular breast self-exam is very important.” While the goal of a mammogram is early detection (they can help detect cancer characteristics before they develop into a lump), self-examinations help you understand your breasts, so that you can alert your health care professional, should even the slightest of changes occur.
- Place your right hand – palm flat – against the back of your head.
- With the fingertips of your left hand, press lightly, then firmly against your entire right breast to feel for lumps.
- Switch hands and repeat the process, using your right hand to check your left breast.
- Stand straight with hands on hips. Check in the mirror for any changes in breast texture, shape, size, nipple appearance, or unusual discharge.
- Lie down with a small pillow or folded towel under your left shoulder and left hand behind your head.
- Use your right hand to check your left breast and under your armpit using your “Shower Test” pattern.
- Move the pillow under your right shoulder. Switch arm positions and repeat the process using your left hand to check your right breast.
Remember that this is not a replacement for the regular breast care check-ups with your doctor. Staying on top of your health between your scheduled appointments will help you stay healthy, proactive, and preemptive, when it comes to your wellbeing.