Breast cancer, if detected at earlier stages, can be treated successfully. The most practical method to detect the presence of cancerous lumps is self-examination of breasts. Health organizations recommend all women who are above twenty years of age to examine their breasts once a month regularly.
Breast self-examination, BSE for short, helps in detecting any changes that occur in the breast. Any lumps, thickenings, or some other alteration if spotted, should be immediately brought under a specialist’s care. During the process of self-examination, the entire breast and the neighbouring chest and armpit area should be closely explored. Both the breasts should be examined in the same manner in each month. You should also keep in mind how the breast felt during each examination in order to make a mental comparison with the next analysis.
Now the challenging question is how to conduct the examination all by oneself. The process mainly involves the pads of the three middle fingers. While performing the breast self-examination, the fingers should first be moved vertically up and down throughout the entire breast area. Then, move the fingers spirally in a ring pattern. The concentric finger rings should start on the outer edges of the breast and should end around the nipple area.
It is advisable to conduct breast self-examination in a warm room or while taking a warm shower. In a warm atmosphere, the tissues of the breast will be relaxed and it will be much easier to examine them. If the examination is done after a cold bath, the breast and nipple tissues might all have possibly contracted, making the process all the more difficult.
Since, cancerous tumours are more likely to be spotted in the peripheral areas of the breast, extreme care should be taken while examining the area from the armpit to the collarbone. The part beneath the breasts should also be scrutinised. The outer upper region of the breast towards the armpit is referred to as the “tail” of the breast and is more prone to be affected.