Thursday, October 12, 2017

Breast Cancer Awareness Month | How To Check For Signs of Breast Cancer ♥

The older I get, the more I become aware of my own body. I'm currently on a weight loss journey and finding myself becoming more and more aware of my body and how it's changing each week. It's become so important in this day and age to be aware of what's normal for your own appearance and to keep a close eye on anything which you think may have changed in appearance and the older I get, the more I'm taking notice.

Sadly, in today's society, cancer a disease which affects so many people and it's important to be aware of the signs and symptoms that many forms of cancer begin with. There's not one person I know whose life hasn't been affected by cancer.

My own father had bowel cancer in his thirties and in the back of my mind I'm always thinking about that cancer connection in my own family and how important it is for me to educate myself on signs of cancer and how to seek help if I ever did notice anything - hopefully I never will.

October is breast cancer awareness month and as breast cancer is the most common malignant tumor diagnosed in Irish women, with 2,883 cases being diagnosed each year, I thought I'd share how to check for signs of breast cancer.

Checking your breasts for signs of breast cancer is such an important thing to do and something which you should do on a regular basis. Breast cancer affects both women and men, so it's important for me to also check their chest for any symptoms too. Breast Cancer Ireland have even produced an app to remind people to check their breasts and it also includes a self-examination video too, to demonstrate how to check your breasts properly for signs of breast cancer.

The five steps of a breast self-examination:

1. Begin by looking at your breasts in a mirror with your shoulders straight and your arms on your hips. Look to see if your breasts are their usual size, shape and colour and if your breasts are evenly shaped, without any swelling or distortion.

You should contact your doctor as soon as possible if you notice the following changes:
- puckering, dimpling or bulging of the skin.
- a nipple that has changed position or has become inverted (this is where the nipple pushes inward instead of out).
- any redness, sore/tender areas, rashes or swelling.

2. Now you should raise your arms to look for the same changes. A device which can be even more helpful in allowing you to self-examine your breasts thoroughly is Breastlight. Breastlight is a handheld device which works by shining a harmless red light through the breast tissue, so that you can see the particulars inside. This makes it a lot easier to see any abnormalities in your breasts, as overtime, by using Breastlight, you will become aware of what is normal and not normal in the appearance of your breasts. If you're interested in other people's thoughts there are also reviews of Breastlight to read. More information can also be found in the video below.

3. While still looking in the mirror, look for any signs of fluid coming out of one or both nipples - this could be watery, milky, yellow fluid or even blood.

4. Next your should feel your breasts whilst lying down. You should use your right hand to feel your left breast and vice versa. Your touch should be firm but smooth with your fingers being kept close together. Make sure to cover the entire breast area from top to bottom and side to side. You should also be covering the area of collarbone to breast and from armpit to breast also. Be sure to check all the tissue in your breasts - from front to back. Light pressure should be used on the skin and the tissue just beneath and a firm pressure should be used on the deep tissue - meaning you should be able to feel down to your ribcage if you're applying the right amount of pressure.

5. Finally, you should feel your breasts while you're sitting or standing. It may be easier for you to feel your breasts when they're wet or if the skin is slippery, so checking them in the shower or bath may be easier. You should follow the same method outlined in step four.

It is important to contact your doctor as soon as possible if you notice any changes in your breasts - no matter how small you think they may be. It's also highly important to attend all breast check and mammogram screening appointments you may have too.

Hopefully this information can help people to check their breasts properly for signs of breast cancer and to enable them to receive treatment as soon as possible. Please feel free to share your own breast cancer stories in the comments below.


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