Thursday, March 25, 2010

Breast Health

No one wants to do breast self exams; it's awkward, it feels funny, and sometimes it causes you to freak out. It may be a downer, but knowing what to look for can help catch something before it is too late. This article was found at Cosmopolitan and is definitely important for every woman to read and think about.

The One Thing You Must Do for Your Breasts

By: Esther Crain

But many major cancer organizations insist that it’s crucial for women to examine their breasts on a regular basis.

Here’s why: First, an estimated 20 percent of breast cancers are identified (and treated) after a woman notices something “off” about the feel or appearance of her breasts. Second, because women in their 20s, 30s, and now 40s are not advised to undergo yearly mammograms, a self-exam is the only diagnostic tool younger women have to help them detect the disease. (Although only about 5 percent of breast cancer cases occur in women under 40, when it does hit younger women it tends to be more deadly.)

So take control of your health by staying the course with monthly self-exams. If you’ve never done a breast self-exam before or feel like you need a refresher course, follow the easy steps below. The best time to do it is during the week after your period, because that’s when breast tissue is at its smoothest.

Step 1: Stand in front of a mirror topless, shoulders straight, arms down at your sides. View each breast in the mirror, as well as directly by looking down at them, and make sure there’s no swelling, redness, puckering, and/or dimpling of the skin.

Step 2: Raise your arms over your head and check for the same signs again along the skin. (With your arms up, breast irregularities may be easier to see.)

Step 3: Squeeze each nipple gently, making sure no fluid or blood comes out.

Step 4: Keep your first few fingers flat and together, and use a firm touch to check for any lumps, bumps or bulges. Begin at the nipple and move in larger and larger circles until you reach your cleavage and chest as well as your underarm, where many cancers begin.

If you detect anything suspicious or notice that something has changed, check in with your gyno ASAP.

Sources: Marisa Weiss, breast surgeon and founder of; Jennifer Wider, women’s health specialist and Cosmo radio health expert


Jenny said...

I was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer when I was just 33 years old. THANK YOU for posting this article. <3