We’re well into Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which means now is the time to book that mammogram. And in the meantime, do a self-examination at home circa now. “It’s estimated that breast cancer accounts for 15% of all cancers worldwide, but if it’s detected early, there is a far greater chance that the cancer can be eliminated,” says Dr. Ferdous Al Saigh, gynaecologist and women’s health expert at Dr. Kayle Aesthetic Clinic in Dubai. “By doing weekly or monthly self-examinations for breast cancer, you can take control and ensure early detection and successful treatment.”
Never done a breast check yourself? Follow Dr. Saigh’s simple, step-by-step guide to self-examination and make sure you do one every month from now on.
- To begin, you need to do both a visual exam followed by one with you lying down. Start by standing in front of a mirror and look at your breasts, standing with your shoulders straight and hands on your hips. While examining your breasts, it is important to verify that they are their usual shape, size, and colour.
- Search for changes such as dimpling, bulging, puckering, redness, soreness, rashes, or nipples that are pushed inward or have changed position.
- Once you have done that, raise your arms up over your head and check for the same disparities again.
- After checking your breasts while standing, you will want to check them while lying down. Lie down on a flat and firm surface, and use your left hand to feel your right breast and vice versa.
- Using a firm touch, use the first three finger pads of your hand and keep them flat and together as you do so. Use a circular motion – approximately the size of a dirham – and cover the breast from top to bottom and side to side. Check the whole breast and move in large circles, beginning at the nipple and leading to the outer edge of the breast. Feel the entire breast tissue from the back to the front of your breasts.
- The last step is to check your breasts while standing or sitting, following the previous steps you did while you were lying down.
- If you have any irregularities, make an appointment to see your doctor immediately in order to get you further checked and decide on a treatment plan, if necessary.