The Whole Spectrum of Breast Health:
Self-breast examination(SBE) one of tool for early detection breast cancer. Its combination of physical and visual examination of own breast. It will help identify any lump, skin and nipple changes. This will
help to identify cancer at early stage and increase chances of complete cure. It should be done on monthly basis to identify at early stage. If you notice any changes, please discuss with your doctor. Knowing how your breasts normally look and feel, also called breast self-awareness, will help you identify any changes or abnormalities in your breasts, such as a new lump or skin changes.
SBE has an accuracy of nearly 21% -41% depending on various factors. It is note worthy however that in one small study nearly 99% of all patient detected lumps turned to be cancerous. SBE can detect cancer at early stage. However, it should not be a replacement for Mammogram or other diagnostic tests.
When you should it:
- It should have done on monthly basis.
- If your menstruating SBE should be done few days after your periods. If you are post-menopausal (monthly periods are stopped) then same day of each month.
How you should do it:
- Stand infront of mirror, bra less with arm at side.
- Look for any skin colour changes, shape symmetry and dimpling of nipple. Inspect your breasts with your hands pressed down on your hips.
- Inspect your breasts with your arms raised overhead and the palms of your hands pressed together.
- For left breast place left hand behind head and examine with right hand. Use middle 3 fingers soft pad.
- Place right hand on top of left breast i.e. at 12 o Clock position, move to 1 O’clock then 2 o’clock till return to 12 o’clock. Continue same pattern with movement towards nipple.
- Examine right breast in same manner.
- Check tissue under arm pit area.
When to contact your doctor:
- Change in symmetry of breast as compared to previous month examination.
- If you noticed any lump.
- Recent change in nipple turned inside (inverted)
- Any change in colour of skin over breasts.
- Bloody discharge through nipple.
Consultation with your doctor:
- Don’t get afraid, most of times breast lumps are non-cancerous.
- Your doctor will take discuss in detail regarding your complaints. Followed by clinical examination.
- If required doctor will ask of Mammogram. A mammogram is an X-ray picture of the breast. Doctors use a mammogram to look for early signs of breast cancer.