Every year over 250,000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in the United States alone,
A few facts about Breast Cancer:
- Breast Cancer accounts for 22.9% of all cancer cases worldwide
- 1 in almost every 8 women will develop some form of breast cancer in her lifetime
- Breast cancer is the 2nd leading cancer related death in women after lung cancer
- Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among women ages 35 – 54
- Breast cancer risk increases with age – every woman is at risk
- Every 13 minutes a woman dies of breast cancer
- More than 1.7 million women who have battled breast cancer in the U.S. are still alive
- The mortality rate could decrease by 30% if all women age 50 and up got mammograms
The breast self-exam is a way that you can check your breasts for changes (such as lumps or thickenings). It includes looking at and feeling your breasts. Any unusual changes should be reported to your doctor. When breast cancer is detected in its early stages, your chances for surviving the disease are greatly improved.
How Do I Perform a Breast Self-Exam?
If you choose to do a self-breast exam, here are some steps you can follow.
In the mirror:
1.Stand undressed from the waist up in front of a large mirror in a well-lit room. Look at your breasts. Don’t be alarmed if they do not look equal in size or shape. Most women’s breasts aren’t. With your arms relaxed by your sides, look for any changes in size, shape, or position, or any changes to the skin of the breasts. Look for any skin puckering, dimpling, sores, or discoloration. Inspect your nipples and look for any sores, peeling, or change in the direction of the nipples.
2.Next, place your hands on your hips and press down firmly to tighten the chest muscles beneath your breasts. Turn from side to side so you can inspect the outer part of your breasts.
3.Then bend forward toward the mirror. Roll your shoulders and elbows forward to tighten your chest muscles. Your breasts will fall forward. Look for any changes in the shape or contour of your breasts.
4.Now, clasp your hands behind your head and press your hands forward. Again, turn from side to side to inspect your breasts’ outer portions. Remember to inspect the border underneath your breasts. You may need to lift your breasts with your hand to see this area.
5.Check your nipples for discharge (fluid). Place your thumb and forefinger on the tissue surrounding the nipple and pull outward toward the end of the nipple. Look for any discharge. Repeat on your other breast.