By Adelusi Kehinde B.
Breast self examination is simply referred to as the modality used for the early detection of cancer of the breast.
Breast self examination can be done 5-7 days after menstruation begins for premenopausal women and once monthly for a women who have reached their menopause.
Steps for self breast examination are;
√ Stand in front of a mirror.
√ Check both breasts for something unusual .
√ Look for presence of discharge from the nipple, scaling of the breast skin, dimpling of breast and flattening of the nipples, retraction of the breast when its being compressed and possibly the inversion of the nipples.
√ Watch yourself closely in the mirror and clasp your hands behind your head and press your hands forward.
√ Take note of any changes in the normal structure of your breasts.
√ Press your hands firmly on your hips and bow slightly towards the mirror, then you will pull your shoulders and elbows forward
√ Ensure you note any changes in the contour or structure of your breasts.
√ Raise your left arm.
√ Use three or four fingers on your right hand to feel your left breast firmly, carefully and thoroughly.
√ Start from the outer edge, and press the flat part of your fingers in small circles, and mobe the circles slowly around your breast.
√ Move towards the nipple.
√ Then ensure you cover the whole breast without leaving any part out.
√ Ensure you pay good attention to the area between the breast and your underarm.
√ Then feel for the presence of unusual lumps or masses under the skin.
√ When you observe there is continuous discharge during the month or when self breast examination is being carried out, ensure you visit the hospital for further investigations.
√ Repeat the examinations on your right breast as well.
√ This should be done while lying down.
√ Lie flat on your back until your left arm is over your head and make sure you fold a towel or put a small pillow under your left shoulder ( this position is good because, it flattens your breasts and thereby makes the examination easier).
√ Use same circular motion as described before.
√ Repeat this on your right breast too.
NOTE: Breast self examination should be carried out monthly.
Stay Healthy Always!