The early detection of breast lumps is extremely important, and despite advances in medicine, knowledge and treatment, the mortality rate from breast cancer has changed little during the past 50 years. Where in the past women under a certain age appeared not to be at risk, recently we have been informed by the experts that breast cancer is now detected more and more in younger women. Major advances in the succesful treatment of breast cancer therefore lie in early detection through monthly self examination, screening, and knowing your body. Many women find in the premenstrual phase of their cycle that they have sore, tender breasts and may even feel pea-sized lumps. This is not necessarily something to be worried about, as it may be due to hormonal changes making th breast glands swell. The best time to examine breasts in the first week after a period, when the gland swelling has subsided.
WHILE IN THE SHOWER. Rub the breast well with soap, put the arm on the side of the breast being examined on your head or behind your neck.Using the pad of the index, middle and ring fingers, and using a little downward pressure, but not enough to move the skin, glide and rotate the fingers gently in small circles and feel for anything on that spot, then glide on. Examine from the collarbone, to below the breast line and from armpit to the middle of the chest. Always start at 12 o’clock, and work down to the nipple. For larger breasts one hand can be used to support, while the other examines. Larger breasted women can also lie on the bed to do their examination, following the same procedure.
OR. Stand naked in front of a mirror and look at your breasts – notice if there are any changes occurring – weepy nipples, mis-shapen, sunken nipples, bumps or lumps on the breast. Be astute to changes occurring, if you notice them, you should immediately go and have it investigated by your health care professional. A lump may only be glandular, but you have to be sure.
At the Clinic we have a model breast which is implanted with several lumps. It is a wonderful tool for practising breast self-examination and also to realise what breast lumps actually feel like. Ask at reception on your next visit.
If you notice or feel anything that concerns you, seek the advice of your health practitioner. Early detection saves lives.
Pap Smears are also recommended yearly. It doesn’t hurt and it is worth the effect, for early detection and cure.