Breast Self-Exam should be carried out once a month after a period has finished, for women who’ve already finished the Menopause

 


Breast self-exams are important in the early detection of possible breast cancer.

One out of every 8 women will present with breast cancer, this being the highest incidence in 50 years.  It should be noted that only 5% of breast cancers are hereditary and that 1% of men also suffer from the condition.




Breast Self-Exam should be carried out once a month after a period has finished, for women who’ve already finished the menopause, a set day each month should be used to do the check. 

The first self-exam you do should be done very slowly.



Steps to follow in a breast self-exam:


Step 2  in a breast self-exam:

The next step is to raise your arms and check that the contour of each breast is uniform and that both look the same.

Check your armpits with your arms by your side.

Step 3 in a breast self-exam:


Step 4 in a breast self-exam:


Step 5 in a breast self-exam:


Step 6 in a breast self-exam:

Next, feel each breast in turn in circular movements using the finger pads of your opposite hand, starting from the outer part of the breast and moving towards the nipple. Cover the whole breast in straight lines.

Step 7 in a breast self-exam:

Next step breast self-exam stand  in front of a mirror. Firstly, let your arms hang lose by your side and twist your upper body from one side to the other to check if there is any lump or thickskin or nipples.

Step 8 in a breast self-exam:



A change in colour or a texture like orange peel.

Step 9 in a breast self-exam:


You should also squeeze the nipples to see if there is any liquid discharge.

Unusual things detected in a breast self-exam and which are causes for consulting a gynaecologist.

If you spot a lump during the breast self-exam, in 90% of cases these are  benign tumours that can be treated.

ABOUT BREAST CANCER

What Is Breast Cancer?


Breast cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the breast. Cancer starts when cells begin to grow out of control. 

Breast cancer cells usually form a tumor that can often be seen on an x-ray or felt as a lump. Breast cancer occurs almost entirely in women, but men can get breast cancer, too.

It’s important to understand that most breast lumps are benign and not cancer (malignant). Non-cancerous breast tumors are abnormal growths, but they do not spread outside of the breast. They are not life threatening, but some types of benign breast lumps can increase a woman's risk of getting breast cancer. 


Where breast cancer starts

Breast cancers can start from different parts of the breast.



🔵 Most breast cancers begin in the ducts that carry milk to the nipple (ductal cancers)

🔵 Some start in the glands that make breast milk (lobular cancers)

🔵 There are also other types of breast cancer that are less common like phyllodes tumor and angiosarcoma.

A small number of cancers start in other tissues in the breast. These cancers are called sarcomas and lymphomas 

🔵 also found on screening mammograms.

Types of Breast Cancer

ANGIOSARCOMA

This rare form of cancer starts in the lining of the lymph vessels or blood vessels. It can cause skin changes or a lump in the breast and is sometimes a complication of previous radiation treatment to the breast.

DUCTAL CARCINOMA IN SITU (DCIS)

This form of breast cancer is also called intraductal This metastatic cancer is aggressive and fast growing due to the cells making too much of a protein known as HER2. Very specific treatment plans are designed for women with this form of breast cancer.

HER2-POSITIVE BREAST CANCER(DCIS)

This breast cancer over-expresses a protein on the outside of the cells that can be measured. IT is important to know because specific chemotherapy is used in the treatment plan.

HR+ POSITIVE BREAST CANCER

This breast cancer is fueled by either or both the hormones estrogen (ER+) and progesterone (PR+) Personalized treatment plans are designed that may include hormone therapy, surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.

INFLAMMATORY BREAST CANCER (IBC)

This rare form of breast cancer presents with a swollen, red and tender appearance and advances rapidly from the original location to nearby tissue and even the lymph nodes.IBC symptoms are caused by cancer cells blocking lymph vessels in the skin. You can also see a pitting or thickening of the skin that may look like an orange peel.

INVASIVE LOBULAR CARCINOMA

This invasive type of cancer begins in the lobules (milk-producing glands) and can spread to other parts of the body, including the lymph nodes.

INVASIVE DUCTAL CARCINOMA(DCIS)

This invasive type of cancer begins in the ducts and can spread to other parts of the body, including the lymph nodes.

MALE BREAST CANCER

Although breast cancer is most common in women, it can affect men-especially older men. It is treated the same as female breast cancer.

METASTATIC BREAST CANCER

Also called advanced breast cancer or Stage IV, means your breast cancer has spread beyond the breast to other parts of the body (such as the bones, lung, liver or brain). This diagnosis is often misunderstood since the cancer is still breast cancer even though it lives in another organ and requires a treatment plan specific for breast cancer.

PAGET’S DISEASE OF THE BREAST

This is a rare form of breast cancer involving the skin of the nipple. Paget disease starts in the breast ducts and spreads to the skin of the nipple then to the areola.

RECURRENT BREAST CANCER

This form of breast cancer can occur months or even years after the initial treatment from cancer cells that survived the initial treatment undetected and multiplied. The cancer may re-occur in the same place or have spread to another part of the body.

TRIPLE-NEGATIVE BREAST CANCER

This breast cancer does not grow based on hormone receptors (estrogen and progesterone proteins that tell cells what to do) or too many HER2 receptors.

Once a biopsy is done, breast cancer cells are tested for proteins called estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors and HER2. The tumor cells are also closely looked at in the lab to find out what grade it is. The specific proteins found and the tumor grade can help decide treatment options.

Recent research suggests that people who eat dinner before 9 p.m.—or at least two hours before going to sleep—have a 20 percent lower risk of breast cancer than those who eat after 10 p.m.—or go to bed shortly after their final meal. The study, published on June 17 in the International Journal of Cancer.

Find out the densities of your breasts

When you have more tissue than fat in your breasts, it is harder to detect cancer on a mammogram (because both tumors and breast tissue show up white, while fat looks dark). 

The biggest risk for breast cancer is simply being born a woman, but taking certain measures (such as the following) can reduce your probability of developing the disease.



Exercise, exercise, exercise


Exercise seems to protect against breast cancer by helping to maintain weight and estrogen levels. One study found that women who gained significant amounts of weight were 40 percent more likely to develop breast cancer than those who had not. That’s due to the link between fat and estrogen, which can stimulate cell overgrowth, and in turn, breast cancer. Ready to take action? Get moving. The Women’s Health Initiative found that women who walked briskly between one to three hours had an 18 percent lower risk of breast cancer than their inactive counterparts.

Know your family history

Cancer is often hereditary, and it can be passed from one generation to the next through a set of mutated genes. Talk to a medical professional if anyone in your family has had cancer (that includes extended family and your father’s line of women, too). If you know you’re at a higher risk for cancer, you might be encouraged to keep better tabs on your health. When breast cancer is caught early, the 5-year survival rate is 99 percent, according to the American Cancer Society.

Avoid radiation

Ionizing radiation—the kind in many high-tech screening tests—is a risk factor for all cancers because it can cause DNA mutations in cells. That doesn’t mean you should cancel your mammogram, or never go through airport security again. But all radiation exposure should be in moderation and as recommended by a medical professional.

Consider breastfeeding


According to a recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, women who breastfeed for the first six months have a 10 percent reduced risk of death from cancer. This is because a woman usually will not menstruate while breastfeeding, which limits her number of menstrual cycles and lowers the amount of estrogen in her body that could stimulate excessive cell growth.

Eat right 


Research continues to show that your diet can impact your risk of cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends 2.5 cups of fruits and vegetables per day, limited processed and red meats, whole grains over white bread, and no more than one alcoholic drink per day. In fact, around three drinks per day increase your breast cancer risk to 1.5 times that of someone who abstains from drinking. And having appropriate levels of Vitamin D


Begin to incorporate these measures into your daily life today for a healthier future tomorrow.


you can better protect yourself by following up with a doctor and potentially adding more cancer screenings in your future.


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