One significant way of staying alert and on top of your game with your breast health, is to know the normal look and feel of your breast. This way, you will notice any change or know what to look out for.
With regular breast self exams, you get to know your breasts better. How often do you undertake breast self examinations? Taking the time to look at your breasts is a start to it. Place arms on your hips and examine your breasts in the mirror. This will help you notice any unusual shape, distortion, swelling or coloration. You could also lift up your arms to do this check. Easy, right?
While still standing in the shower with your skin wet, lift your arms up and feel your breasts using your fingers in a circular motion, up and down, or vertically (try any motion that works best for you). Ensure to cover your entire breast area, cleavage, and armpit to carefully check for lumps. This procedure can be carried out while lying flat in bed as well.
Although a breast lump might be a symptom of breast cancer, not all breast lumps are cancerous. Discovering a breast lump can be a cause of great anxiety in any woman's life but there's really no need to panic. Studies have shown that at least 8 out of every 10 breast lumps are benign (non-cancerous).
Benign lumps could be:
A fibroadenoma – made up of breast gland tissue and tissue that helps support the breast gland tissue, a fibroadenoma is a firm lump that moves around easily in the breast. It's quite common in younger women (below 30).
Sometimes, cracks in nipples make way for germs. A bacterial infection occurs and a collection of pus forms under the skin of the breast. Usually painful, this occurrence is known as a breast abscess in form of a lump.
Another common type of lump is a breast cyst. This is a smooth, firm fluid-filled lump quite familiar in women approaching menopause (from the ages of 30 - 60).
An injury or trauma to the fatty tissue in the breast can cause a lump. These lumps are referred to as fat necrosis and often heal on their own accord.
Another benign lump is lipoma. This is a fatty growth that develops within the fatty tissue of the breast.
Notwithstanding, should you feel a lump and you're worried about it, don't hesitate to see a doctor. A visit to the doctor will help tell you what type of lump it is and that'll certainly ease your fears. And if cancerous, treatment can commence immediately.
Breast self-exams should not take the place of regular mammograms/ultrasounds. These professional checks remain the best ways to detect breast cancer early. With early detection, your choices of treatment are wider; it most definitely improves your chances for a successful treatment and survival.