Breast Cancer Awareness–Self Exam

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Breast Cancer Awareness: How to check your breasts at home

This month is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and being that this cause is something close to our hearts at Mohebali Plastic Surgery, we feel it’s important to remind you of some simple things you can do to check yourself. As always, before making any self-diagnosis, make sure you see your physician. This is just a way for you to catch early warning signs, and NOT the equivalent of a doctor’s diagnosis, or professional examination. This is, however, highly helpful, and easy to do at home. Here’s how.

 

  1. Stand in front of your mirror, shirtless and braless, and look for any unusual shaping or changes in your breasts visually. Be on the lookout for skin discoloration, peeling, bumps, or a change in how they rest/hang on your body. If you’ve had a breast augmentation, do the same. Also, make sure to look closely at your nipples and check for color irregularity, swelling, and what direction they’re facing.

 

  1. Bend forward, while your hands are on your hips, and carefully look at how your breasts fall. Again, this may be harder to notice if you’ve had an augmentation, but still look closely how gravity affects the skin, shape, and direction. Then, roll your shoulders and elbows forward, then back, and look for any irregularities there. Do the same with your hands clasped behind your back, and then behind your head. Look at the borders underneath your breasts, and if you have to, lift them up to see under them for any abnormal shape, flaking/peeling, or discoloration.

 

  1. Check your nipples for any discharge fluid. Do this by placing the tissue surrounding the nipple between your thumb and forefinger and pulling outward at the end of the nipple. Do this on both sides. Look for any fluid coming from the nipple, and if you see any, contact your doctor immediately. Make sure to squeeze the entire nipple thoroughly, and do it from a standing up position in front of your mirror, to make it easier to spot.

 

  1. Lie down flat on your back, and try the following. Think of your breast as a face on a clock. Start at 12 o’clock and move toward 1 o’clock in small circular motions. Continue around the entire circle until you reach 12 o’clock again. Keep your fingers flat and in constant contact with your breast. When the circle is complete, move in 1 inch toward the nipple and complete another circle around the clock. Continue in this pattern until you’ve felt the entire breast. Make sure to feel the upper outer areas that extend into your armpit.

If you find a lump, discoloration, skin flaking, an abnormal hang or shape in the breast area, or any other of the warning signs you’re looking out for, don’t panic. It’s important to remember that this is just a preliminary self assessment. Panic won’t help, and neither will drawing your own conclusions. If you find something that sets off a red flag, call your doctor and schedule an appointment for as soon as possible. Any of the above could be a number of things, so it’s best to keep calm, stay positive, and trust your doctor’s assessment once you see them.

Always remember to get your yearly mammogram which is the MOST important step in catching breast cancer early and increasing your survival rates.

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