The best way to lower your risk of advanced breast cancer is to do a self-breast examination to pick up early signs of breast cancer and seek treatment. This can be done once a month after your menstrual cycle (period) is completed.
Before you begin with the actual breast exam, please look at your breasts in the mirror to look for any changes: the size of each breast (note the size difference or changes in symmetry), swellings, rashes, redness, discharge from the nipple (you may do a gentle squeeze), dimpling/puckering and retraction of the nipple. You can check for these in four positions: arms at the sides, arms overhead, hands on hips and bending forward.
Now we come to the actual feeling part of the exam. When doing a breast exam, make sure you are comfortable, lying on a bed with your arm bent behind your head on the side of the breast you are examining. Always check both breasts. You want to start at the collar bone right until the bra line – feeling with the pulp of your fingers in circles all along the breast. Make sure to feel for lumps under your armpits too. You want to look out for any lumps, tenderness and abnormal changes in consistency.
⚠️Please inform your healthcare provider at the clinic or doctor if you find any changes. You can also get a breast exam at any primary healthcare facility. Make sure to let your doctor or nurse know if there is any family history of breast cancer when you ask for an exam or explain any changes you found.
For more information and a great video presentation of a self-breast exam, you may visit https://cansa.org.za/breast-cancer