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Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2023: Simple steps for a breast self-exam at home

The goal of Breast Cancer Awareness Month is to encourage women to undergo regular screenings and to promote the importance of early detection in improving the chances of survival. It also serves as a reminder for women to take care of their overall health and well-being.

Kristina Das Edited By: Kristina Das @https://twitter.com/KristinaDas2 New Delhi Published on: October 07, 2023 13:59 IST
breast cancer awareness month
Image Source : FREEPIK These are the simple steps for a breast self-exam at home.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is observed every year in the month of October to raise awareness about the most common form of cancer among women. It is a global campaign that aims to educate and inform people about the risk factors, preventative measures, and early detection of breast cancer. During this month, various organizations, businesses, and individuals come together to spread awareness and support those who have been affected by breast cancer. This includes wearing pink ribbons, organising fundraising events, and sharing personal stories of breast cancer survivors. The goal of Breast Cancer Awareness Month is to encourage women to undergo regular screenings and to promote the importance of early detection in improving the chances of survival. It also serves as a reminder for women to take care of their overall health and well-being. By promoting early detection, Breast Cancer Awareness Month plays a crucial role in the fight against this disease. 

A stitch in time saves nine, and early detection saves lives! While breast self-exams at home can’t replace a medical check-up, they’re still very useful in finding any abnormalities or changes to your bust.

Did you know 40 per cent of diagnosed breast cancer cases are from women who detected a lump at home? So here’s how to get started, what to do, what’s normal, and the next steps to take if you notice anything! Are you ready? 

Step 1: Take a long look

Buckle up, and get comfortable darling. It’s in your breast interest to be familiar with how your bust looks normally. Step 1 is visual, so get in front of a mirror, undress, and start observing. Keep your hands at your sides and then clasp them above your head to look at your breasts at different angles. Look for any changes in contour, swelling, or dimpling of skin, or any differences around the nipple, especially if it’s in just one of the breasts. Breast cancer awareness starts at home and it’s imperative you make yourself comfortable.

Step 2: Feel around

Check yourself, and don’t ignore the warning signs. Step 2 involves thoroughly touching your bust and feeling around – do it for your body that loves you the best.

You can do this step either by standing up in the shower or lying down with a pillow under the breast you’re checking. Use the pads of your fingers (not just the tips) to thoroughly feel around, and with different levels of pressure. Press down all around the breasts and under your armpits in a methodical pattern and make sure to squeeze the nipples to check for any discharge. You should be looking out for any lumps, thickening, hardening, or knots at this step.

Symptoms of breast cancer

Breast Cancer Awareness: If you are looking directly for the symptoms of breast cancer, here are the ones from above in more detail: 

  • A constant pain in the armpit or one part of the breast
  • A change in colour, with the breasts looking red or inflamed
  • Dimples, puckers, bulges, or ridges on the skin
  • Flaky skin, itchiness, sores, or rash
  • The nipple becomes irregular in shape or sinks into the breast
  • Unusual discharge from one or both of the nipples

What to do, when

A self-exam should be conducted once a month is what the Breast Cancer Awareness Protocol dictates. If you do find a lump or show any of the other symptoms, make an appointment with the doctor – but it isn’t the end of the world! 8 out of 10 lumps are not cancerous and can be easily removed. Breast cancer itself is also fully treatable - depending on a variety of factors – so make sure to get regularly screened as well. Do your breast for your breasts! 

Noticed anything? Make an appointment with the doctor for further check-up immediately. And if you are unsure, mammography can detect tumours before they are felt too. 

(With IANS Inputs)

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