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Self examination


Every woman should get used to the texture and appearance of her own breasts. Breasts form during puberty and keep changing throughout a women’s reproductive life. Breast undergoes physiological change with every period, pregnancy and during breast feeding. With menopause most of the milk producing tissue disappears and gets replaced by fat.

Personal breast awareness and routine screening is the key to early detection of any possible problems.

It is a good idea to look at you breasts in the mirror at least once a month after periods. Before periods it is very common for most women to experience some breast tenderness, lumpiness and discomfort. Checking at this time could cause anxiety as it is tender, uncomfortable and lumpy. Therefore, Breast self-examination should be practiced once a month after periods. In women who do not menstruate, any day on a regular basis is sufficient.

Don’t look for trouble. Know what is normal. If normal is known, then trouble becomes easy to spot.

  • Look in the mirror: Look at yourself in the mirror, with arms down, with palms squeezed at the chin level and with arms up When you are familiar with what is normal then a change is easy to spot.
  • Touch and check your breasts: It is also important to know how your breasts feel. In the days before periods, most women find their breast slightly painful and lumpy. This gets better after periods. Use the flat of your hand to check the breasts and the underarm area while you shower. Use soap, cream or oil to help you feel the texture of your breasts better.
  •  Feel your breasts while standing up and lying down - using your right hand to feel your left breast and then your left hand to feel your right breast. Keep your fingers firm and at the same time use smooth touches. Do this by using the first few fingers of your hand. Keep your fingers together and flat.
  •  Cover the entire breast from top to bottom, side to side – from your collarbone to the top of the abdomen, and from your armpit to your cleavage.

When you are familiar with the way your breasts look and feel normally, then a change is perceived easily. It is better not to do a self- examination looking for problems as they are described in most other portals ( ie) look for lumps, skin changes or discharge . When you keep looking for trouble, everything seems like trouble. So my advice is to know what is normal, then if there is an abnormality then it is perceived easily.

 

Authored by Dr. Selvi Radhakrishna

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