Breast cancer is one of the most common cancer among Indian females; India has the 3rd highest number of cancer patients. If diagnosed earlier, there are higher chances of survival. The predicted number of deaths due to breast cancer is likely to increase to 76000 in 2020.
Hence, one must learn the technique of self-examination to detect any possible chances of breast cancer at an earlier stage. Women should perform the following steps every month to minimise risks:
Step 1- Look
Check your breasts in the mirror with your shoulders straight down and arms at the back. Look for any changes in the breast size, shape or colour, or if there is any swelling or distortion. If you observe anything unusual, please visit a doctor, without panicking. Look at your breasts in all positions that you can, including arms over head or hands on hips, bending forward position etc.
Step 2- Touch
Inspect your breasts in both standing and lying down positions to feel the changes if any. Touch your breasts from the side to its centre to check for any lumps or knots, use circular motion with different pressure on the breasts. Check for important changes in the nipples including redness or swelling, or tenderness or pain.
A few signs of cancer could include the following:
- Lump in the breast
- Change in breast shape
- Breast shrinkage or swelling
- Skin redness or irritation
- Unusual breast pain
With regular self-examination, you can become aware of your breasts and know if there is anything unusual happening to your body. This way you can be proactive and take action when needed. Most breast lumps are not cancerous, so there is no need to panic in case of noticing anything unusual, however, please alert the doctor for safety. The exam takes only a few minutes but is a 100% necessity.
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