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Conducting A Breast Self-Examination At Home

This information is brought to you by Prega News by Mankind Pharma, the No. 1 pregnancy test kit, as a part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

An important part of detecting breast cancer on time is to notice changes in your breasts by conducting simple self-examinations at home. While this cannot prevent breast cancer, it can make a difference to detecting it early and treating it on time.

Here’s a simple guide to make self-examinations easier:

When To Examine?

Breast changes like tenderness are common during your cycle, due to the hormonal changes. So an ideal time to examine yourself is a few days after the cycle ends.

It’s important to get into this habit once a month, so that you will familiarise with how your breasts feel and notice any changes as early as possible.

How To Examine

1. Examine The Appearance

It is important to know the ‘normal’ appearance of your breasts. This helps you notice any changes. You should speak to a doctor if you see the following breast changes:

- Skin changes like dimpling

- Bulging areas, swelling or changes in shape

- Color differences, redness or rashes

- Change in nipple shape or positions

- Signs of any fluid discharge from nipples

Also look for changes in your underarms by raising your arms while standing in front of a mirror.

2. Examine How Your Breasts Feel

You should ideally conduct the home examination upright while sitting or standing, as well as lying down.

Most women find it easier to perform the upright examination while in the shower.

Here’s how you can do it yourself:

- Hold your 3 fingers between the thumb and pinky finger together, flat.

- Use the pads of the fingers to make small circular motions, and cover the whole breast, repeating this on each side.

- You will have to do this thrice per side:

a. Start with a light touch just enough to feel the tissue under the skin

b. Then use a medium touch to feel a little deeper.

c. Finally, use more pressure so that you can feel the deep tissue down to your rib cage.

- Feel for lumps, and apply pressure to check for any discharge.

You should see a doctor if you notice any changes from the usual, like tight knots, thickening or lumps in your breasts or under the arms.

Conduct these self-examinations regularly. Although there is no definitive way to prevent breast cancer, detecting it earlier can make a huge difference. See your doctor if you are worried about any changes, as they can guide you through living a healthier life, which can help you significantly reduce the risks for breast cancer.

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