8 October, 2019
Health & Wellness

Know Your Body: Learn How To Correctly Perform A Breast Self-Exam

8 October, 2019

It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which means it’s time to check yourself and know what “normal” feels like to you and your body.

It’s never easy to acknowledge the impact of the “C” word, but in the developed world, one in eight women develop breast cancer at some point in their lives. It’s the most common type of cancer in the world, and last year alone two-million women were given this diagnosis*.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and whilst we’re surrounded by pink advertising, pinkathons, pink afternoon tea-sets, pink cosmetics deals, and pink discount deals, health and awareness still take top priority. The only way to make sure you and your breasts are fine and dandy is early detection. We’re not talking annual mammograms, but more about feeling  your boobs on a monthly basis, knowing what’s your normal and what’s not, so that every soreness, dimple, discharge or twinge sends a clear signal to the brain. But before we school you in breast self-examination, let’s lay down the basics.

(*Source: American Cancer Society)

Check firmly under your armpits

Who is at risk?

Anyone with boobs.

That’s not just women but men, transgender, cisgender, basically anyone with breast tissue can get cancer of the breast. It’s definitely far more common in women but male breast tissue has similarities to female tissue and the American Cancer Society estimates that one in 1,000 men suffer from breast cancer at some point in their lives.

Another breast cancer myth is that the disease is all down to genetics. Did you know that 80% of the people who get breast cancer don’t have any family history? So, let’s not only blame the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes which raise the breast cancer risk by a whopping 56%; the grave diagnosis has got a lot to do with your age, lifestyle, oestrogen and progesterone exposure, alcohol use or abuse, unhealthy body weight, activity level and environment.

The changes to watch out for:

Breasts are lumpy. When I first started doing the monthly exams, I would live in constant fear of being a living ball of tumours. But after a couple of months, you get the hang of what’s your normal, what your boobs look and feel like at a certain point in your menstrual cycle, so when something’s off, you know to alert your doctor.

When to do a breast self-examination?

The best time for a self-exam is the fourth or the fifth day of your menstrual cycle, that’s when the pre-period breast thickening has subsided so there will be no unusual breast tenderness. The general rule of thumb is to check your breasts for irregularities at the same time every month.

Look out for these signs

  • Any hard, irregular blob which does not move with your fingers or the rest of the breast tissue.
  • Any lumpy/bumpy swelling or dimpling, even changes in the texture of your boob or towards the armpit.
  • Changes in shape or size of one boob.
  • Nipple discharge when you’re not pregnant or way past breastfeeding.
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the armpit or around the neck bone.
  • Thickening of the areola, any redness or scaliness in this area.

If something does strike a nerve, don’t go into panic mode, keep calm and know that most lumps are harmless tumours, but consult your doctor for further tests.

How to perform the breast self-check correctly:

Breast Self Check

1. Lie down on your back on the bed or stand and put your hand above the head. Use the index, middle and ring finger of the other hand to begin the exam.

2. Mentally divide the breast into four quadrants and then start by pressing your fingers firmly into the armpit using circular motions while coming towards the nipple.

Breast Exam Check

3. Check one part of the breast at a time and then work your way around the entire boob.

4. Repeat the process on both the breasts.

5. Check firmly under your armpits for any swollen lymph nodes – they’ll feel like peas under your skin.

6. Squeeze the nipples to see if there is any abnormal discharge. By abnormal discharge, we mean any discharge or blood.

Observe the shape size and texture of your breasts

7. Stand in front of the mirror and observe the shape, size and texture of your breasts. Is there a change? Anything suspicious like bumps, rashes or retracted nipples which don’t look normal, should be reported to the doctor straight away.

That’s it, keep a close watch on your twins and stay healthy!

 

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2018 by Nikita Mishra, and was updated in October 2019.

All images are property of Sassy Media Group

Back to top
#SoSassy
Meeting friends for a festive drink tonight? Make sure you read *Where To Find Hong Kong’s Most Festive Drinks & Cocktails This December* first. Link in bio 🥂.⁠
⁠
📷@aquahongkong⁠
⁠
#hongkongbars #christmascheers
No plastic mm goi. 🎁*2019 Christmas Gift Guides: Eco & Ethical*🎁is live on #sassyhongkong. Your ultimate guide to gifts with a conscience.⁠
⁠
#sassyhongkong #haveaverysassychristmas⁠
#ecofriendlygifts #giftideas #greengifts
With sweeping harbour views, festive vibes and dining deals, @K11ARTUS is on the top of our list this season. Need a reason to check it out yourself? Here are three seasonal deals you don’t want to miss… Link in bio. ⁠
⁠
#K11ARTUS #TheArtisanalMovement #VictoriaDockside
Read 🎁*2019 Christmas Gift Guides: For Him*🎁 on #sassyhongkong now. From tech to grooming, here’s our pick of the best gifts for him. Link in bio! 👨‍🎤⁠
⁠
#sassyhongkong #haveaverysassychristmas⁠
#giftsforhim #giftideas
Have you sorted your New Year's Eve yet? Check out our pick of the best parties and events happening around the city this 31 December 🥂. Follow our link in bio then forward to your WhatsApp group to start planning now.⁠
⁠
#sosassy #hongkongparties #NYE2019⁠
⁠
🎁🌸*2019 Christmas Gift Guides: Home & Interiors⁠
*🌸🎁⁠
⁠
Shopping for a homeware fanatic? Take a look at our picks of the best home and interiors Christmas gifts. Link in bio. ⁠
⁠
#sassyhongkong #haveaverysassychristmas⁠
#foodiegifts #giftideas
🚨Giveaway alert! 🚨If you like the sound of shakshuka, sharing meze dishes and cocktails to celebrate your weekend, be sure to enter our giveaway for your chance to win a brunch @francishongkong! We’re giving two lucky Sassy readers a fab brunch experience for four at the Middle Eastern favourite, so head to the link in our bio to find out all you need to know.
🎁*2019 Christmas Gift Guides: Food & Drink⁠
*🎁⁠
⁠
Christmas is a time to feast, so we’ve rounded up the best food and drink gifts to give you a helping hand! Follow our link in bio for all your foodie gift needs.⁠
⁠
#sassyhongkong #haveaverysassychristmas⁠
#foodiegifts #giftideas

#SoSassy

@SASSYHONGKONG