October is breast cancer awareness month. While it is true that breast cancer predominantly affects women who are 50 years or older, breast cancer may also affect younger women and men.
Here are some symptoms to look for:
- Change in size or shape of the breast
- Nipple discharge other than milk
- New lump/s in the breast or underarm
Self-exams are a great way to become familiar with the normal look and feel of your breasts. Many people report finding lumps and changes in their breast during various times of their hormonal cycle- that’s why it is great to know how your breast may change throughout the month. It’s best to conduct an exam when your breasts are not tender.
How to conduct an self-exam:
Begin with a visual examination:
- Is there any puckering or dimpling?
- Any changes in size, shape or symmetry?
- Inspect your breasts with your hands at your hips, arms raised overhead and palms pressed together.
The manual portion of the exam can be done lying down or standing up.
How to conduct a manual exam:
- Use the pads of your fingers.
- Take your time.
- Apply different amounts of pressure. Breast tissue feels different at different depths in the skin – be sure to test different amounts of pressure around the entire breast.
- Follow a pattern. One pattern is to think of a clock. Begin at the outer portion of your breast and move your finger toward the nipple.